Hyderabad: Residents of Cyberabad, especially techies, visit nearby villages to create awareness on social issues, paint schools over and over again, and teach at government schools as part of their corporate social responsibility.
However, they do not raise their voice collectively about kaccha roads, potholes, open drains and overflowing sewerage in their own areas. The apathy of not only officials but also citizens is depriving the areas of sanitation amenities.
While the roads running past the companies are beautified and well maintained by the Telangana state Industrial Infrastructure Corporation, the areas where the techies reside lack basic amenities.
Activists say that most of them either don’t care or lack a sense of belonging. Despite every apartment having a Residential Welfare Association (RWA), connecting them is difficult because they only care about their premises and don’t look beyond the compound walls.
Mr Vinay Vangala, who took responsibility to highlight civic issues, said, “In 2016 my spine was severely damaged and that’s when I decided instead to find out the root cause of the problem and solve it instead of shelling out money to doctors.”
“Having a clean premises is not sufficient, we need a proper road all the way till the office and all other areas we visit. Techies prefer visiting a doctor to lodging a complaint (about poor amenities),” Mr Vangala said.
While there are several reasons for this apathy, one of them is lack of awareness on how to report to the civic agencies. About 400 welfare associations were called to participate in the Mana Nagaram and only about 200 turned up. Most of the issues were about sewerage. These associations need not have waited for the Mana Nagaram and could have collectively voiced their complaint and got matters sorted.
“Many associations feel they are supreme and do not mingle with others due to the branding. It is important to connect these dots,” said Mr Vangala. Officials pointed out that there are several associations which take up clean-up drives and activities within their area and do not publicise them much. Some of the teams, which do CSR activities, also pointed that residents do not want to go beyond their gates and participate.
Mr Ravadi Kantha Rao of Shubhra Hyderabad, which runs a weekly clean-up campaign, said, “We rarely see residents coming forward to attend our activities. They simply watch us from their windows. Everyone wants change without getting their hands dirty.”
Techies have no time, pensioners take up battle
While activists pointed out that techies don’t have time and don’t really care, it is imperative to understand that they need good roads to reach on time to office.
Mr Aditya Agarwal, who moved from Kanpur to Hyderabad and is secretary of his RWA, said, “Techies and eventually RWAs do not have enough time to balance professional and personal life. It is difficult for them to think beyond their building and it takes a lot of effort to drag them outside.”
On the other hand, youngsters actively participate in CSR activities. Activists point that most of them participate in such activities and think they are giving back to society. But CSR is the responsibility of the company, and they are shamed publicly on the government’s website if they don’t spend funds.
CSR adds value to the company and helps in promoting branding and for tax exemptions. Sometimes it helps people climb the professional ladder. But it is important to reflect on the conditions the people are living in.
Techie Gaurav G., who has been staying in the city for five years, says, “We are a generation full of lazy people who have given up on the system without even testing the waters. We believe that only if a foreign dignitary comes the roads and other amenities will be fixed.”
Mr B.T. Srinivas, secretary of United Federation of Resident Welfare Associations, said that there are RWAs which conducted regular meets with zonal and deputy commissioners. “The residents of Cyberabad, predominantly youngsters, lack time. Most of the members of RWAs are people who have retired,” he said.
Shubhra to work extra on weekends
Shubhra Hyderabad, which goes on weekly clean-up drives, has been cleaning the cricket ground at Nizampet for six weeks. The ground lacks dustbins and is attached to a function hall. Several locals dump black plastic bags with wet waste in the ground.
In the past six weeks they recovered six trucks of plastic waste from the cricket ground and surroundings. Mr Ravadi Kantha Rao, inceptor, Shubhra Hyderabad Movement, said, “It is large area and we want to leave the place completely clean instead of just working for a week.”
He said Shubhra Hyderabad would now work twice a week on Saturdays and Sundays. He added that cleaning the Nizampet ground was taking long because activists were handpicking the smallest plastic waste including chewing gum wrappers, cigarette stubs and broken glass pieces.
“In the weeks to come we will be sensitising the locals and people who play in the cricket ground to keep the premises clean,” he said.On Sunday, the turnout of volunteers was thin and five people worked for three hours. They picked up half a truckload of trash. On Saturday, 25 volunteers had joined the clean-up.
The next drive is scheduled on Tuesday, World Environment Day, when dustbins will be installed by the GHMC....