After serving in the army for 25 years, Colonel (retd.) Jason Peter was confronted with a battle of another kind – the street outside his home in Anna Nagar was filthy, strewn with garbage. And so, the colonel, who couldn’t bear dirt, decided to wage a war against litter.
He armed himself with a broomstick and swept away the mess. Every morning, he would head out of his house on 9th Street, 12th Main Road, Anna Nagar and clear garbage. When the local Corporation conservancy worker arrived, the Colonel would assist him.
“We keep our houses clean. But we either encroach upon public space or dirty it. It’s as if this is in our DNA. Keeping streets clean is the Corporation’s responsibility, but we shouldn’t depend upon them completely. Once we act, they too will swing into action,” says Col. Peter, who always asks the local Corporation workers to keep the streets clean.
One year later, he says his neighbourhood is relatively cleaner.
The Colonel, who commanded a battalion in Kashmir and now works with Cognizant Technology Solutions, is also trying to mobilise senior citizens in the locality to extend his cleaning efforts to other streets as well.
A stickler for discipline and cleanliness, he is, by now, a recognized figure in the vicinity. “I made leaflets about keeping streets clean and got my children to distribute them among the neighbours. Many were indifferent, but some were interested,” he says. “The owners of big houses have encroached upon most of the pavements. But they don’t bother to keep the streets clean. People sometimes look at me and wonder why I’m doing this. But that does not stop me,” he says.
So what keeps him going? “I like to inspire and set an example,” he says.
We invite readers to participate in this campaign. You can email pictures of bad pavements (size not more than 1.5 MB) to firstname.lastname@example.org
Please send a picture of yourself.
In the email, please give your name, contact information, location of the pavement, description of the issue and action required.
Your pictures will be posted on www.facebook.com/chennaicentral and will also be considered for publication in the newspaper.
Keywords: Jason Peter, My Chennai My Right column, Anna Nagar platform maintenance, The Hindu's campaign, Right to Walk, pedestrians, Chennai pavements, pavements in Chennai, pedestrian safety in Chennai, footpaths in Chennai