New Delhi: Facebook
has turned into a useful tool in the hands of a 78-year-old
retired army colonel to clean up Delhi's walls. Shivraj Kumar is
using the social networking site, so popular among the young, to
reach out to people and help rid the metropolis of ugly posters
that deface and often disfigure public edifices and street
A few months after Shivraj Kumar started his 'Poster Hatao'
campaign in the national capital in August 2009, he created a
Facebook profile to engage with residents of Delhi directly.
"There are crores of useless posters everywhere, and through this
campaign we have managed to remove many half-peeled and soggy
posters defacing public walls. I wanted to use the medium of
social networking to spread the movement," Shivraj Kumar, founder
secretary of Munirka Vihar, told IANS.
"Many people have approached me since I created the Facebook
profile of the campaign. The campaign has seen some young energy,"
The campaign has garnered around 207 supporters on Facebook.
The retired armyman ensures that one of his family members daily
checks the account and maintains interaction with Facebook
People use the Facebook forum to inform about the situation of
their area. They post encouraging notes on the wall and appreciate
the efforts of the campaign.
With the support of his wife Laxmi, 73, and through his network
with residents welfare associations and Bhagidari, the Delhi
government's residents partnership initiative, he is getting
support from Delhiites.
"People from all age groups are joining in to remove unwanted
posters and make Delhi poster-free. And this has been helpful
through intense campaigning," Shivraj Kumar added.
Shivraj Kumar held the first community project in west Delhi's
Punjabi Bagh, in June where the veteran was assisted by the
Municipal Corporation of Delhi and area residents.
Even as he continues efforts to take the movement to the bylanes
of Delhi, Shivraj Kumar wants to ensure its success across the
"The posters removed are of political parties, advertisements, and
tutorials," he said.
According to the Delhi Prevention of Defacement of Property Act of
2007, which came into force in March 2009, sticking of posters,
banners and wall-writings on public properties is a cognizable
The penalty is a fine of up to Rs.50,000, a jail term of up to one
year, or both.
"People should know that there is a fine imposed on them if they
deface public property," Shivraj Kumar added.
According to the Vasant Kunj police station, two shop owners were
last year fined on a complaint by the group. They were penalized
an amount of Rs.25,000 each.
Shivraj Kumar explained: "The interesting part is that we have a
team of volunteers who are allotted a particular spot to monitor
and clean. A warning is given to those defacing public property.
If they don't respond, we approach the authorities to fine them."
The campaign has also started operating in Mumbai.
"If one crore residents of the city help to remove at least one
poster each, the city will be cleaned in 5 minutes. And this goes
for all metropolitans," Shivraj Kumar signs off.
(Loveleen Sharma can be contacted at email@example.com)