It was a whirlwind of thought-provoking ideas at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan auditorium on Friday, thoughts that poured out of young minds and actually helped fix civic woes.
Janaagraha’s Bala Janaagraha National Civic Fest saw students from 531 schools in 25 cities work for four months on the project, Our Road, wherein they got local area corporators, MLAs and municipal commissioners to meet the basic civic needs of their locality. Some 40,000 class 8 students got down to the act, driving civic authorities to improve roads, conditions of slum dwellers and effectively manage garbage and sewage in their respective cities.
Four schools which emerged winners at the zonal-level were in Bengaluru on Friday to share their ideas and bring about a positive change with their efforts. DPS Patna was declared winners, followed by DPS Pune, DPS Coimbatore and Cambridge Court High School, Jaipur.
The ecstatic winners from DPS Patna said: “We took the initiative to fill pot holes, fix streetlights and build dividers on a 45-metre-long road. We spoke to residents and presented our findings to the civic body with a demand to meet all requirements at the earliest. Residents have appreciated our efforts and we will continue with our endeavours.”
DPS Pune used technology to address civic concerns in their city. The students built an app for citizens to lodge complaints concerning the two key roads in their city, ones which were in poor shape and needed immediate attention. “When we approached the area corporator with our app, she welcomed our idea and supported our initiative. The app has now become popular among locals. We now plan to add more streets and roads that are in urgent need of repair to the list,” explained Gaurandi Pande, one of team members.
“Through our civic education programme, we are inculcating in students the values of being active citizens. We are teaching them to work with the government for advocacy and capacity building.This will naturally generate a sense of importance for civic issues among them.They are also being sensitized about the local bodies which are responsible for giving them a quality life,” said YS Ravi, senior manager, Bala Janagraha.