Going beyond the call of duty seems to be the mantra for ‘Swachhta Doot’ (messengers of cleanliness) who works late into the night to ensure ‘Bhavya Kumbh, Divya Kumbh’ (Grand Kumbh, Divine Kumbh) is reflected both in letter and spirit.
For the last one month or so, I along with 11 others are engaged in keeping the premises of Kumbh Mela clean. We ensure cleanliness in and around few eateries set up in Arail area of the city. Our main job is to ensure that there is no littering in the Mela area. On an average, a Swachhta Doot works for nearly 10-12 hours every day, going beyond their 8-hour shift. The job pressure is more on the major bathing days when there is a heavy influx of devotees who throngs the place from far and wide. A few days back, I was sleeping when my phone rang and I was asked to immediately report to work, Ravi Kumar, a Swachhta Doot, who hails from Fatehpur district of Uttar Pradesh, said. He further added that the Swachhta Doot like him feel happy when visitors praise the cleanliness of Kumbh.
According to the official website of the 2019 Kumb, More than 15,000 sanitation workers, 40 compactors and 120 tippers have been pressed into service for disposal of waste. Apart from this, more than 2,000 ‘Ganga Praharis’ or ‘Swacchagrahis’ have been engaged as foot soldiers for keeping the Kumbh Mela area clean.
Shyam Lal, who has also been deployed as a Swachhta Doot, said that they have been given individual identity cards. Generally we are on 8 hour shift, but the work goes beyond 10 hours, and sometimes it touches 12 hours. Lal was of the opinion that the installation of LED lights at the Kumbh has proved to be quite handy as they can spot the garbage from a distance.
At times we hear from visitors that the Kumbh Mela this year is cleaner than those in previous years. It makes us happy and satisfied that people are liking our work, Raj Karan, another Swachhta Doot, said. While he further added that the people have become more aware about cleanliness and that makes our work relatively easy.
More than one lakh toilets have been installed this time for maintaining cleanliness and ensuring open defecation-free Kumbh. Solid waste is to be collected in 20,000 dustbins and transported out of the Mela area.