If there were more bureaucrats like Neemuch collector Vikas Singh Narwal, the whole system could perhaps have been cleaned up and not just the drains of Moolchand Marg and Ekta Colony in Madhya Pradesh.
Fed up with repeated complaints from residents about the unhygienic living conditions in the area and getting no response from the local municipality, Narwal on Monday donned a pair of rubber boots and gloves and cleaned the clogged drains himself as the locals cheered.
And it wasn’t just a symbolic affair. Narwal, an IAS officer of the 2008 batch, clarified that the clean-up would continue for the next few days. "It cannot be a one-off thing. The exercise will continue for a fortnight," Narwal said, adding that he responded in “public interest”, adding, “the local body employees’ output is not sufficient. Of that there is no doubt, My attempt is to enthuse the municipal staff.”
But he could have just shot off a directive to the chief municipal officer and get the job done. "Complaints are usually approached from a punitive point of view. We're trying a curative approach," Narwal told HT.
The collector said that there is also a message for the residents of the area. "When we started the clean-up, people also realised how encroachments on nullahs and indiscriminate dumping of waste obstructs the flow in the drains," he said.
Narwal was also all praise for the local Red Cross unit, whose members joined the clean-up drive. Taking the sanitation mission forward, the collector has put together a 20-member squad to monitor and spread awareness of living in a clean and green neighbourhood.