Auto-rickshaw driver Deepak Dhap, 39, has been appointed as Brand Ambassador for Jaipur by city mayor Ashok Lahoti for Swachh Survekshan 2018. Appointed as a flag-bearer to promote Sanitation in the city, Deepak keeps a dustbin in his rickshaw and educates his passengers. A day after his appointment, TOI speaks to him. Excerpts:
How are you feeling after being appointed brand ambassador for Jaipur?
It’s a proud moment for me that I have been provided with an opportunity to make a mark in society. I belong to Valmiki community and people still do not notice our work. Recently, famous Bollywood actor Salman Khan in an interview used derogatory words against Sanitation Workers. It’s wrong. They are role models for many youths in this country. If they (celebrities) do not give respect to particular section, even others won’t. My appointment has set an example that each of us can make a difference in the society.
From where did you get an idea to put dustbin in your auto-rickshaw and motivate people to keep surrounding clean?
After I was suspended from my job in 2010, I am ferrying young school kids for living for the past three years. I have observed children throwing wrappers on the roads after eating chocolates and chips. After I failed to stop them, I bought a small dustbin for them and asked to throw garbage in it. My idea was supported by the kids.
Did you face any difficulty initially?
My neighbours, even my wife used to laugh at me. People are not much aware of sanitation in the area. However, they are proud of me now.
How do you want to take it forward?
I am practising this for past two years. In my auto rickshaw, I also give 10 per cent discount to armymen, pregnant women and sanitation workers. I believe both soldiers and sanitation workers are doing national duty. If all sanitation workers go on strike for one day, imagine the situation in the country?
How did you manage to impress city mayor?
I had gone to drop a customer in mayor’s area on Monday. I saw his board outside the house and randomly walk inside . I apprised him about the work I am doing to make surroundings clean. He appreciated my work and instantly told you will be the city’s brand ambassador. This was a big reward for me.
It is mostly believed educated people are more sensitive about cleanliness? Are you educated?
I am a drop out from Bhatkhande Sangeet Vidyapeeth, Lucknow. I believe everyone in the society – rich or poor, literate or illiterate – wants to live in a clean environment. However, poor people cannot maintain that as there are no proper drainage system in their society. Garbage collection is not proper. If all the opportunities are provided to them they would surely maintain cleanliness.
Source : timesofindia