New Delhi: From collecting mounds of garbage, removing slush caused by rains to cleaning toilets, a group of volunteers -- mostly students from premier medical and engineering colleges -- kept Ramlila Maidan, the nerve centre of Anna Hazare`s movement, clean at a time when it saw unprecedented footfall on all the 13 days of his fast.
Initially, most of these students came to lend support to Anna Hazare`s movement against corruption, but swayed by the electric atmosphere they ended up being part of it.
While the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) carried out most of the sanitation work, volunteers played a big role in keeping the Ramlila Maidan, bigger than a football field, clean. The civic body also got praise from Team Anna member Arving Kejriwal for its work.
The student volunteers, on the other hand, worked in shifts round the clock. While some came to Ramlila Maidan in central Delhi as early as 6.00 am and left by midnight, others stayed through the night.
Donning the trademark Anna cap, Kamlesh Parihar, a student of MTech from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee, said: "We picked garbage and even cleared the slush caused by rains when needed while the municipal workers used to come thrice a day."
Parihar took a 15-day leave from college and stayed at the venue for 16-18 hours daily. "I used to came here early morning and leave only in the night," he said with a smile.
Some of them went around the ground with a wheel barrow and collected every bit of trash while others used empty water bottles to collect stagnant rainwater and throw them outside. They also poured mud and gravel on slush to keep the ground dry.
"Some of us also cleaned toilets when there were no MCD workers. Anna ji is doing so much for the country and I feel proud that I did something which brought some comfort to his supporters," said Avinash Sukhla, 18, who is preparing for medical entrance.
Atul Kumar, a student of vocational studies in Dayal Singh College, said: "I cleaned the floor mats every morning so that people could sit comfortably. We cleaned the garbage... levelled the ground. We did all this because the movement is for our better future."