FIXING HYDERABAD These youngsters work towards making the city a better place. Photo: Nagara Gopal
A group of zealous young professionals have taken it upon themselves to beautify commonly littered areas in the city with funky stick figure paintings
The city seems to be taking on a red hue of late with several public walls in the city painted a bright red with cheerful stick figures playing football, lotuses dotting a bus stop and festive Christmas trees greeting commuters at a busy junction. The handiwork of a group of youngsters who call themselves Hyderabad Beats, this is their endeavour to clean up the city and beautify it to prevent further littering and defacing. The group that began their campaign to spruce up areas in the city that have been subjected to neglect and lack of civic sense have so far managed to give a facelift to nearly eight areas through their dedication in a span of five months.
While Hyderabad Beats started off as an online student community magazine two years ago, its members wanted to expand their ventures and take their activism to a different level. Now comprising 12 young professionals, Hyderabad Beats launched its latest campaign #ifixhyderabad to encourage other like-minded citizens to join them in their endeavour to give the entire city a facelift and discourage defacing of public property and rampant littering.
Aravind B., an entrepreneur and member of Hyderabad Beats, says , “We wanted to launch citizen level campaigns to get people to be more proactive. One of our first campaigns was to save our lakes before we came up with the hashtag #ifixhyderabad. Now our signature, we use this hashtag to create events on social media inviting volunteers to join us to spruce up specific areas in the city every fortnight.” He adds that people can use the hashtag to post pictures or information about areas that need a facelift and the group will work towards beautifying that area.
One of the first areas that they targeted as part of their #ifixhyderabad endeavour was the Lingampally bus stop. “We’d noticed that this particular bus stop was in a pathetic condition with a nearly one inch thick layer of handbills on the walls, filth, rampant littering and urination. Commuters wouldn’t even use the bus stop due to the amount of filth there. We armed ourselves with cleaning supplies and paints and set about our work to spruce it up.
What was encouraging was how random passers-by stopped to watch and even joined in to give us a helping hand, while somebody else sent across tea and soft drinks for us. Even bus drivers parked their vehicles close to the stop to help us reach the roof of the bus shelter,” says Sai Kumar Emani, a social entrepreneur.
What the group also noticed was that once they’d beautified a particular area, people refrained from littering it again. Encouraged by the success of their first experiment the group began targeting other areas and have so far managed to spruce up places like Patny, Jubilee Checkpost, KPHB Colony bus stop and Hitec City Junction among others. “We also do follow-ups and maintenance drives. What helps is that hawkers and regulars in the areas also dissuade people from littering or posting bills again,” says Srikanth Koushik, a software engineer, who is in charge of following up on the group’s work.
Intent on expanding their work and roping in more citizens to be socially conscious the group now plans to launch two more campaigns – a tree plantation drive in the monsoons and filling up potholes. “We get a large number of volunteers through the online events we create and that really helps. That apart, even passers-by stop by to pitch in and help. We are confident that we can now expand our campaign with all the support we receive,” explains Aravind, adding that they are currently working on obtaining permissions from civic authorities for their campaigns.