Siddarth Kalra Writes a Letter to the Prime Minister

Dear PMji,

I am an NRI that has the opportunity to live in various different parts of the world. This has improved my understanding of how other countries operate and function. I think if India is to improve and move forward in a positive direction then we need to learn from other nations.

I know India faces a plethora of challenges that require your attention but I will concentrate on only one, public sanitation and cleanliness. The country needs to concentrate on improving the protocols and infrastructure in this department. I would like to take this opportunity to discuss some of what I have learnt from other countries and how we can apply such ideas to India:

Removing Open Garbage from Public Areas

This is a sanitation nightmare and leads to a terrible first impression, as it is one of the first things people notice when visiting India. These areas also promote the spread of disease, which applies pressure on our public health authorities. Introducing centralized areas where garbage can be collected and sorted would be a good strategy to employ when trying to deal with this problem. Now, some of these areas most certainly already exist, in which case we need to build up the appropriate transportation network of garbage trucks that can quickly move garbage to these locations. Such vehicles are a common sight in developed counties but I have never spotted one in India, which leads me to believe that they either are not used or there aren’t enough of them available.

Introducing Recycling Protocols

The concept of recycling seems to be nonexistent in India. This is an essential procedure that needs to be introduced as soon as possible. It is highly prevalent in developed countries and is a major cog within the public sanitation system. Now, for this to work, governments and municipal organizations need to first layout the appropriate laws and protocols that must be followed. Then, the essential infrastructure must be introduced, first in public areas and then within the houses of every resident. This infrastructure should include things like separate bins for garbage and recycling in public areas and special recycling bins that are easily identifiable for use within the home. All of this work needs to be topped off with a targeted advertisement campaign that will promote and educate people about recycling.

Changing Attitudes

Public sanitation and cleanliness is not a priority for people in India. We are identified as a country where people choose to urinate and defecate in public, which should be embarrassing for all of us. People clean their houses three times a day and then throw all the accumulated garbage onto the street. This disregard for others is not seen in countries that have world class public health standards. People need to take pride in keeping their villages and cities clean. Government programs can only go so far if people choose not to change their ways.

For example a couple of years ago, a destructive and violent riot took place after an ice hockey game in Vancouver, Canada. It led to cars being set on fire and shops being ransacked and smashed. The citizens of the city were so embarrassed by this event that the next day hundreds of volunteers spontaneously took to the streets to help clean the city. This is the kind of spirit we need in India.

I’m not sure if the ways of the current generation can be changed but we must ensure that our children are properly educated in this matter. Introducing educational programs that teach children about sanitation and public decency would be a step forward in this fight to change attitudes and perceptions.

Relocating Stray Animals

City streets are dominated by stray animals such as dogs and especially cows. I understand that cows hold a very special place in Hinduism, which is why they are not touched. But it’s high time that we realize that letting them roam the streets is not helping them in any way. Most of these cows are sick, starving and distressed. Leaving them on the streets with a very high likelihood of being hit by oncoming traffic is akin to animal cruelty. Instead, we should be taking steps to save and protect these cherished animals. This could be done by introducing animal sanctuaries where these creatures can be properly taken care of and kept out of harms way. They would be free to live out their lives in an environment that suites them, not on a polluted city street where their demise is inevitable.

Thank you PMji for letting me express some of my thoughts. I wish you good luck in all of your endeavours to improve India. We must all work together continuously to move the country forward in the right direction so that it can truly become “sare jahan se acha”.

Yours sincerely,

Siddarth Kalra

Image Courtesy: [The Viewspaper]

Disclaimer: The above article is the personal opinion of the author and not of the publication.