You may have heard the names of Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman and many other prominent personalities as the brand ambassadors of Swachh Bharat Mission. But it takes a 65- year old transgender to ensure the cleanliness of West’s Delhi Pandav Nagar locality.
A year ago Bijli Kinnar took this task literally in her hands. Holding a stick, Bijli started scolding men and women for dumping waste in the area.
It has started yielding results as garbage along with the stench have begun disappearing from the area. It was BJP leader R.P. Singh who came up with the idea of roping in Bijli to improve the situation when two locals hired for the same purpose failed to do the job. The Pandav Nagar residents often used to get involved in a tussle with Bijli. Singh said that Bijli started her work before Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced his ambitious Swachh Bharat Mission.
File picture of garbage littered in ‘Kathputli’ Colony in Pandav Nagar, New Delhi.Shiv Kumar/The Hindu
He said that he first saw Bijli wandering near the garbage heap and thought of using her for the cleanness drive in the area.
“She is respected by the people in the locality. There is no fear of her in the area.”
Singh paid Rs.5,000 to Bijli for three months only to stand near the dump and stop people from throwing garbage in the area.
She, too, faced problems because residents shouted back at her. But the brave and determined Bijli was adamant and kept a close watch on the people carrying bags.
“Initially I had put the pictures of deities hoping that they will be afraid of throwing waste here. But it didn’t work. But my abuses and stick worked!”
Singh has lost elections in February, but Bijli is doing her job with full dedication. She still arrives at 4.30 am, early in the morning and stands till 9 pm to make the drive successful. A local member of RWA who always supported Bijli and helped her for few hours in keeping the watch on the people who used to throw the waste in the area only to save Rs.100 from being paid to the garbage collector.