Posted On Thursday, June 21, 2012 at 09:06:19 AM
While most of us scowl in traffic jams and wax furiously eloquent over the condition of Pune’s traffic, a group of youngsters have decided they have had enough and have decided to bring about change on the city’s streets.
Sixteen-year-old Akash Shah who lives on Satara Road has been seeing accidents near his house almost daily. “I feel safe on my scooter only because I wear a helmet. I was saved from serious injury once only because I had my helmet on. That’s when my friends and I decided to take the initiative and do something about the traffic situation,” Akash, who has just passed out from Symbiosis School, said.
It is in fact near-accidents and fear of the streets that have prompted this NGO called Action for Pune Development. Akash, who has been named group-leader, has been joined by around 40 other teenagers, eager to clean up Pune’s traffic mess. The group met on Wednesday at Kamala Nehru Park to discuss their plan of working with the traffic police and learning to manage traffic alongside them.
On Thursday, these teenagers will form teams and hand out pamphlets at eight chowks across the city about the advantages of wearing helmets and following traffic rules. The NGO has printed almost 10,000 pamphlets with their own money.
DCP (Traffic) Vishwas Pandhare will inaugurate the campaign at Alka Talkies Chowk. The group members will be at Nal Stop, Balagandharva Chowk, J D Chowk, Swargate, RTO Chowk, Mahalaxmi Mandir Chowk near Sarasbaug, Good Luck Chowk, University Road, Dandekar Bridge near Poona Hospital.
“We collect Rs 150 from each member who joins the organisation we collected old newspapers from people in our housing colonies and sold them to earn money,” said Aditya Palnitkar (16) who has passed out from the Abhinav Vidyalaya English Medium School.
Aditya is the technical brains of the NGO and has been working on its social media campaign as well as on launching their website. “Akash asked me to join him. It’s been a slow process, but people our age have shown interest in taking the campaign forward — we expect more members soon,” Aditya added.
Most of the members also have personal reasons for joining the campaign. Sahil Phadnis (16) who passed out from Symbiosis School is scared of the traffic on the roads and hasn’t asked his parents to buy a scooter or a bike for him. “I don’t want to ride a scooter as I am afraid of the chaotic traffic.
When Akash put forward this idea, I thought it very relevant to me as my parents drive every day and discuss traffic problems. I think I can make a difference with this campaign,” Sahil added.
Nupur and Achal Agarwal, sisters who have passed their 10th and 12th respectively from St Joseph’s School have also joined the group along with 4 -5 friends. “We liked the idea of an accident-free Pune’ we all have scooters and read newspapers in which we read of accidents all the time. It feels great to be part of the campaign,” they said.
DCP Pandhare told Mirror, “They have shown such enthusiasm and interest in working with us and learning about the handling of traffic. We are all excited we will hopefully be asking them for help in the future.”
► I was saved from serious injury once because I had my helmet on. That’s when I decided to take this initiative.
- Akash Shah, Group Leader, Action for Pune Development
► We liked the idea of an accident-free Pune. It’s great to be part of this.
- Achal Agarwal, Member, Action for Pune Development