Qualified as one of India’s fast emerging smart cities, Raipur adds another feather in its cap by hosting the nation’s maiden Kachra Mahotsav
Lining the gardens opposite Raipur’s Municipal Corporation (RMC) was art of a different kind. One could not but pause and take notice of the attractive art installations fashioned out of waste: bottles, buckets, punctured tyres and scrap metals; it was beauty created out of the discarded. The venue, which hosted India’s first ever ‘Garbage Festival’, was also decked with colourful curtains, artworks and a few stalls selling products made of recycled or upcycled waste materials like papier-mâché, tetra-packs, glass waste etc
Having kicked off on January 19, the four-day extravaganza organised at the RMC gardens Chhotapara in Raipur, witnessed various workshops and performances that celebrated and promoted the best out of waste. The workshops that engaged various schoolchildren who attended the event included one on the benefits of composting, by Saraswati Kuwalekar. Tejinder Singh enthralled the students by making quick and quirky installations using old newspapers.
Pramod Dubey, the mayor of Raipur while congratulating the RMC for their efforts, said,
The participatory, engaging and comprehensive approach of this festival will not only sensitise the citizens but also empower them to contribute their bit in safeguarding the environment.
Among many beautiful and thought-provoking installations were those named Charcha and Udaan, created by the students of Mumbai’s J J School of Art and Indira Kala Academy, Rajanandgaon. These creations were made using waste materials collected by the RMC and their Swacchta Ambassadors in a month-long kabaad morcha (garbage-collection drive) prior to the event.
Speaking about how events such as the Kachra Mahotsav that will provide a roadmap to smart cities in setting examples of sustainability, Rajat Bansal, Commissioner, RMC, said,
It is our continuous endeavour to help facilitate sustainable development and create a healthy environment for all. Keeping in sync with the ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’, this festival promotes the objective of cleanliness in a distinctive way.
Events such as these bring together entrepreneurs and artisans working in waste management sector and further promote ideas and ways of recycling, adds the enterprising bureaucrat who also plans to put the installations displayed at the festival to better use by exhibiting them across famous spots in Raipur.
The highlight of the event was the much awaited performance of Dharavi Rocks, an internationally acclaimed band comprising youngsters living in Mumbai’s Dharavi. Headed by 30-year-old Harsh Karangale, the nine-member team’s energy-packed concert was much cheered and applauded by Raipur’s audience on the second day of the event.
Using their infamous yellow buckets (upcycled waste bins that are used to create music), the band entertained the crowd waiting to hear them on a chilly evening through their unique, upbeat, beat-boxing performance. Thaalavattam, a percussion-based band also performed on the third day of the event using instruments made of junk items like paint cans, soda cans, and PVC pipes.
In the recent past, the RMC has been credited to have launched various pioneering initiatives like the ‘Toilet My Right’ campaign, City Hygiene Awards, and Swachhta App, under its ambitious Smart City Project. In recently released data by the Housing and Urban Affairs ministry, Raipur ranked third in the list of smart cities with most number of completed projects, after New Delhi Municipal Council and Varanasi.
Though the footfall at the four-day event was not high, the imaginative Kachra Mahotsav surely proved to be an exemplary effort for many aspiring ‘swacch’ cities across India wanting to adopt creative waste management techniques.