Bala Janagraha Civic Fest competition

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By Devina Karnik

Another spellbinding and interesting stage one round of the Bala Janagraha Civic Fest competition grasping attention of many took place on the 17th of October, 2015 at the Dr. Erin.N. Nagarvala Day School in Kalyani Nagar, Pune. The competitors gave out many creative and interesting solutions to the judging panel consisting of two extremely knowledgeable personalities, Mr. Amit Singh of the POSA foundation and Mr. Kamlesh Sonawane of the Sahyadri Nature foundation based on the theme of discussion presented to them, ‘Our roads- the tender sure way.’ There were nine participating groups each representing their respective school all consisting of students from class 8.

Anjali English School in Vadgaonsheri, Pune fared the best amongst all and emerged as winners. The school was represented by twelve capable students who expedited their way to victory by their good presentation skills and effective solutions proposed by them.

The students chose the Suncity main road near Brahma Suncity society for their survey. The dimensions of the road were measured as 1 km 500m (length) and 7m 30cm (width). The students then formed a questionnaire and surveyed a few residents living in the surrounding area who needed to travel by the Suncity main road everyday. The main problems which the students identified were :- a) Either broken or no footpaths at all. b) Broken water pipes on the road. c) Open manholes. d) Enormous potholes. e) Garbage accumulation on the road. The major problem disturbing the residents was the accumulation go garbage. It was found that garbage was thrown on a private property in front of the Konark Elegance society in Vadgaon Sheri.

The students then conducted an awareness cycle rally from Anjali English School to St. Arnold’s School which is also located in the Vadgaonsheri area. They made banners and charts to make the rally more appealing to the localites as to gain attention from them and make them realise about their surroundings. The students also went to the park located in front of the Brahma Suncity society and interacted with local-ites and requested them to keep their vicinity clean. The students also placed some cartons near street vendors to be used as dustbins.

The students approached Mr. Yogesh Mulik, the corporator of the ward, regarding the problems faced by the residents and people who travel by that road. “Mr. Mulik has assured us that he will be looking into these problems and will start working on improving the conditions of the road to the earliest,” says Dilkush, the leader of the winning group from Anjali English School.

Punekar News's photo.The students now look forward to the second stage of this competition which is due to be held by the end of this month and hope to perform better than before.

The first runners up of the competition are the group of ten enthusiastic and creative students representing the Dr Erin. N. Nagarvala Residential School. The road chosen for survey by this group was the Ward no.17 road from the Nagarvala Residential School to the Nagarvala Day school in Kalyani Nagar, Pune. The major problems noted by the students during their survey were :- a) Insufficient parking space resulting in cars being parked on the footpath. b) Broken dividers. c) Open fuse boxes resulting in dangling of wires on the footpath. d) Broken footpaths. e) No Zebra crossing marks on the road. f) No streetlights. g) No dustbins resulting in garbage accumulation on the street. h) Broken lids covering manholes. The students being boarders aren’t allowed to leave the school premises therefore conducted their survey with the help of their House masters who carried the questionnaire formed by the students with them and asked the residents of the area about the problems they faced.

Punekar News's photo.The corporator of the ward, Mrs Minal Sarvade was then contacted and she visited the students in the school. The students told Mrs Sarvade about the problems being faced by the localites and people travelling by the road. The students represented the problems of the road by making a model and they also made a model representing how the road should be by making appropriate corrections on the road.

“We can notice some changes since the time we spoke to Mrs Sarvade. Work has already started in the construction of footpaths and broken lids covering the manholes have been replaced by new ones”, notes Mrs Kiran Verma, the teacher who lead her school’s group.

Punekar News's photo.This is a good start to the hard work put in by the students as actions have started to take place to better the road conditions. The students now aim at performing better in stage two of the competition by redefining their models to a higher level.

The third place was awarded to the Sardar Dastur Homazidar Co-ed School in Camp, Pune. The school was represented by ten students who chose the Rasta Peth road near K.E.M Hospital for their survey. The students interacted with local pedestrians present and asked them questions based on the road conditions. The main problems as told to the students by the people were :- a) Garbage accumulation on the road. b) Insufficient parking space. c) No dividers and speed breakers. d) Construction sites causing trouble to pedestrians as well as drivers. e) Spit-ons on private walls.

The initiatives taken by the students were that they set up separate dustbins for wet and dry garbage in their school. Put up posters reading out signs like, ‘No Spitting’ and ‘No Smoking’ on the walls at Rasta Peth road.

“We are now even more geared up for the stage two of this competition and we have already started working on it. We plan to portray our points by presenting models and making power point presentations”, says Mariya the group leader.

This Civic fest surely enhanced the children’s knowledge in terms of being aware of their surroundings and gave them the platform to voice their opinions and has definitely inculcated a passion to strive towards developing the city in their own way. We wish all the teams luck for the further stages and hope to see actions taking place soon in developing the roads of our city.

(Devina Karnik is a student of Fergusson College, Pune)

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