Branded clothes, expensive boots, air-conditioned rooms, a life spent on the excesses of social media, partying away on weekends, moving about in luxury cars and whatnot! Our lives are mounted on layers of comfort and privileges. And it takes us not even a second to disregard things when they do not go according to our wishes. For instance, just how easy it is to criticise a bump in the road and accuse authorities for the collection of garbage by the side of the road.
But what about those whose means to earn a daily living is to actually step into the filth and dirt to clean it out only so we can all have a clean existence? What about those who are tasked with cleaning out what we call everyday eyesore? The ragpickers! They live on that caustic line of poverty you and I can’t even think of spending half a day in.
But not everywhere in India are ragpickers being disregarded. Well, not in the green, clean and enterprising city of Indore to say the least.
As it turns out, no fewer than 700 ragpickers are employed by the Municipal Corporation of Indore, as a result of which several lives that exist on the very edge have been able to uplift themselves somewhat. The garbage pickers have been employed by the said corporation’s trenching grounds.
But the turnaround didn’t happen all of a sudden, nor is it a random or ‘all-too-sudden’ a development. A few years back, it was the Municipal Corporation of Indore that came out with the bright idea of door-to-door garbage collection, in a renewed effort to keep the city clean.
This, in itself, was a huge step forward for those garbage pickers who would roam about in not the most pleasant quarters of the city, looking to collect cheap trash in a bid to make a few bucks here and there.
As it is, known for its penchant to keep the environs absolutely clean, there was no trash on the roads to collect, which is why the Municipal Corporation of Indore’s step toward the welfare of garbage pickers was vital and timely.
Consider the change- a very menial effort versus a proper task given by a city’s municipal corporation.
So evident has been the change brought about by the Municipal Corporation of Indore that a worker employed on the trenching grounds admitted the change the new job has brought about. Here’s what Sangeeta, a worker in Indore had to say:
Earlier, I used to pick garbage from the roads, sidewalks, streets. I was barely making Rs 150 per day. Now, since I am working here I am earning Rs 400 per day. We also have a provident fund facility here and health insurance for the family members. We are two in the family and I am the only earning member.
Another worker, Sonu Nandle, recounted how she earlier had to skip meals in order to make some money and the unhygienic way of life that she was forced to lead.
But then not for nothing is Indore hailed as the cleanest city in the country. It’s consistent efforts to lead by an example has given the so-called big urban cities to follow suit. Moreover, it takes wise planning and great spirit to factor in those who are living on the marginal lines when thinking about a city’s well-being. That Indore cared for poor ragpickers who, until such time had been leading hapless lives is commendable.