Punjab local bodies and medical education minister Anil Joshi has got every reason to pat his own back, as the minister who normally remains at the receiving end as far as the issues concerning the holy city, on Sunday wielded a broom to clean District Shopping Centre (DSC) at B-Block in Ranjit Avenue.
Full marks to the minister for undertaking the cleanliness drive as for over past 4-5 years numerous pleas and written representations for cleaning the DSC had fallen on deaf ears.
The Amritsar Improvement Trust (AIT), which is responsible for the management of the DSC and other parts of Ranjit Avenue, failed to respond to the pleas of the DSC Association and owners of business establishments for cleaning the area.
On numerous occasions, Hindustan Times has also highlighted the cleanliness issue, but each time, the AIT only gave assurances but failed to take even a step forward to improve the conditions in and around DSC.
Office goers and shoppers often complained of filth lying all around the shopping complex and stench emanating from the lawns, which were being used as dumping grounds for garbage collected from Ranjit Avenue and its vicinity.
In view of pathetic civic conditions at one of the city's prime shopping and commercial areas, Joshi decided to take the lead instead of passing orders to the AIT or other organisations to clean it up.
"Ever since Prime Minister Narendera Modi launched the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, I had it on my mind that a cleanliness drive should be launched in Ranjit Avenue locality. The green space at the DSC has become a garbage dumping ground, which I used to see each time I would passed by," said Joshi during the launch of the cleanliness drive.
The minister along with members of DSC Association and some local BJP leaders began cleaning the parking areas at the DSC and then moved onto the corridors. However, the most difficult task awaited them was cleaning of the green space or lawns.
The minister again led the way by pulling out the congress grass growing on one of the lawns and then with the help of a spade he began lifting a garbage heap.
Others followed him and soon vehicles of the municipal corporation (MC) too arrived for taking away the filth to the dumping areas.
At the end of the day, the DSC wore somehow a presentable look and people were able to breathe fresh air.
Though the heaps of garbage from the green areas had been removed and the congress grass had been pulled out, a lot more would have to be done for giving these spaces a presentable look.
Before departing, Joshi appealed to the DSC Association and others that they themselves must come forward for keeping the area clean. He advised them to allocate the green space to private companies for better management.
"The winter is coming and these green areas can be of use for office employees and shoppers, who will like to soak sun during lunch break," he added.
DSC Association chairman Manmohan Singh Gumtala, who despite belonging to the Peoples Party of Punjab (PPP), had all praise for the work done by the minister.
Henceforth, he said, the association would ensure that the areas remained clean.