I reach and begin sweeping and collecting garbage around 6:30 a.m. so that it would be ready by 8:30 a.m., which is when the staff begin reporting for work.
“We begin toiling at dawn every day to make this place look like it does, but you may not notice it”.
With this, Asha Devi turns away momentarily to answer the roll call before picking up a broom and preparing for the next shift.
Like most others on her team of around a dozen cleanliness workers, she wakes up at dawn to make it to Shastri Bhawan on time — two hours before the staff make their way to the sprawling government complex that is a stone’s throw away from the Parliament.
“I reached, began sweeping and collecting garbage around 6:30 a.m. today so that it would be ready by 8:30 a.m., which is when the staff begin reporting for work. This is the drill we have been following everyday since the launch of the (Swachh Bharat) campaign, but most people are neither aware of the change nor do they acknowledge the effort we put in,” she said.
Divided into over a dozen specific circles in terms of jurisdiction, hundreds of workers like Asha attend to the maintenance needs in the complex on a daily basis – in two shifts which require identical, if not equal, zeal.
It may be a slow process, Asha says, but people are gradually adhering to the basics do’s and dont’s of waste disposal.
“Before the campaign was launched, the area used to be a mess by the time office hours got over. But this is changing. We spend almost the entire day keeping the main street clean. We don’t expect people to thank us for it, but the least they can do is try and leave it as they found it when they reach office in the morning,” she said.