Tanky troopers plug VK's water loss-2-at-badlaav-indian-youth-climate-network





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Published on Jul 31, 2009

NEW DELHI: The upscale Vasant Kunj area has been facing a water problem for years but that didn't stop residents from letting their water tanks
overflow. Precious water was often wasted. Then, a few months ago, a group of youngsters decided to take matters in their own little hands. Residents of Block B-1 were surprised to find a brigade of youths, aged between 8 and 18 years, knocking religiously at their doors every morning asking them to switch off the water pumps if tanks were overflowing.

Some heard them out and apologised, others simply banged the doors at their faces. The Tanky Troopers as they chose to call themselves penned down their experiences with the area residents in the form of a street play and have been performing regularly in their colony to increase awareness on water-related issues.

Every morning, the children would divide themselves into small teams, each accompanied by an elder from among the group members. They would visit the backlanes of their colony that have 900 occupied houses. If the teams found any tank overflowing they would approach the residents and ask them to take action. "Some of them felt guilty and switched off the pumps, but many would simply shut the door when they saw a bunch of kids outside,'' said Siddharth Varshney, a class VII student of Mothers International.

His younger brother, Kaustubh, said: "During summer vacation we used to take rounds every morning. Now that our schools have reopened, we go on Sundays and the second and fourth Saturdays. At least 10 people have got their tanks repaired after we spoke to them.''

The group finally gave their experiences a creative angle and scripted the reactions of residents. And the performances of this street play are accompanied by the drumming of buckets. Some of the more strong reactions and oft-heard remarks have been included in the script. The most famous dialogues being "Tumhe pata hai mein kaun hoon. Agar mera tank sabse pehle nahin bhara to mein tumhara tanker jala doonga (Do you know who I am? If my tank is not filled first I will set yours on fire)'', and "How dare you disturb us like that. It's my tank and I will do what I want with it''.

Anchal Sharma, a nine-and-a-half-year-old student of Vasant Valley School, is playing the role of a `nice person' in the play. "The play starts with how people are reacting to us today. Then the time is fast-forwarded and we show a scene of one year later when everyone is fighting over a bucket of water. The third scene is the one in which everyone is dying because there is no water. We have also incorporated slogans about water,'' she said.

The vice president of the RWA, Anuradha Mehrotra, who has been guiding the children, says the initiative is getting a very positive response. "We started off with about five children but now there are 20 kids in the group. The RWA initially tried to carry out the same exercise, but we soon involved children and realised they were getting a better response from residents. In the course of this initiative, the children also learnt a lot and are most proactive when it comes to doing something positive for the environment,'' she said.


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