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Vijaya Pushkarna
Vijaya Pushkarna


Aswachh Sansad Marg

parl-street-1 Photo by Sanjay Ahlawat

Parliament Street or Sansad Marg in the heart of Lutyens' Delhi is one of the best addresses for offices in the national capital. And no surprises, it is one of the best maintained roads as well.

During Commonwealth Games 2010, when most of Delhi got a makeover, the pavement stones along the Parliament Street, particularly the stretch along the iconic Parliament House, must have been replaced at least four times. Anyone walking on that road to work, day after day, will vouch for that.

No gathering, of any sort, is allowed here. When Parliament is in session, drivers have to stop their cars for no more than a few seconds to drop off passengers who work out of offices in the buildings along the road. Earlier, protestors used to come as close to Parliament House as possible to make their voices heard by the elected representatives. However, they have long been nudged away to Jantar Mantar that is a good 750 metres or more away and is barricaded heavily.

But on April 14, Parliament Street turns very different, almost people friendly. It wears a festive look with streamers and buntings along the road as well as crisscrossing it. To celebrate the birth anniversary of Dr B.R. Ambedkar, government and public sector employees, employees' unions etc. put up stalls on both sides and distribute free food. It is as celebratory as it can get.

But within minutes, the road becomes as filthy as a dumping ground. All kinds of plastic and thermocol plates, disposable cups, foil wrappers, straws, spoons, posters, notices are littered not just along the roadsides, but even on the middle of the wide, neem tree lined road. Not just that, puris, halwa, chana, half-eaten ice-cream and popcorn on the road tell the tale of the freedom that the democracy has given people to use that road the way they want. And without any free public toilets, it is not surprising the place stinks as well. Those who have to work that day either take the day off or grump and bear with it.

Nobody mentions Swachh Bharata Abhiyan. For the followers who have to show their loyalty to the father of Indian Constitution, get the right to do so at a place that best represents Dr.Ambedkar.

Can anyone stop them from doing so? And can anyone tell them that Dr.Ambedkar would not have liked this filth? A senior leader confessed that they cannot even think about it. So government does what it can—get the place cleaned up as much and as quickly as they can before the next morning. However, there are tell-tale signs visible for a few days.

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