The city of Pune is often referred to as the Oxford of the East or the Queen of the Deccan and rightly so. The people take great pride in the slow-paced life yet being a fast-growing metropolitan city. But, do we exercise this easy (lazy?) attitude in matters that need more action? Be it the growing number of potholes as the monsoon winds set in or the major power cuts without any warning, even the blatant disregard of traffic rules by the futile public transport system as well. Are we doing anything to help the situation? We ask a cross-section of Puneites if we should we be more vigilant and activisty on social media platforms to improve Pune’s infrastructure?
Romita Purswani Social Media practitioner: We have faced disappointment in the past and that is why the people of Pune take it for granted that not much will change even if we complain. People are also not as demanding and vocal as in other cities such as Mumbai. Therefore, we need to be more active on social media about issues.
Prahlad Kakar Adfilm maker: Yes, of course we need to use social media in a way that shapes opinion and forms dialogue. I mean look at a city like Pune where one-third of the population is elderly and two-thirds are youngsters. So we need something like social media that bridges the gap.
Sristi Sinha Media executive: Definitely yes. Being a part of a recently titled ‘Smart City’ we have our responsibility towards the city as well. As a part of the social media world and seeing people use these platforms just to share memes and happenings of other countries and laughing on what’s happening with Pune is a sad scene. I know so many people who do not even know what new laws are made for the city even though others talk about it but they do know about what happened other countries.
Netraprakash K Bhog Advocate: I completely agree that the people of Pune need to get more vigilant and activisty on social media platforms and initiate dialogue about the issues in our city. This is the only way politicians will learn when they realise their seat is in danger. But no one bothers. You are living in a democratic country, you have the right to freedom of speech, why aren’t we exercising it? We need to speak up and stop taking it easy. I have been working to improve the environment in Pune for years now, creating more awareness on social media will make a big difference.
Vinita Deshmukh Editor, Activist: Even though I’ve realised that the people of Pune are extremely alert and tech savvy, they do not use it to report civic issues that directly affect them. Using social media as a platform to create awareness and take correctional measures will go a long way… it is as simple as tweeting a picture of the pothole in the middle of a busy road or reporting a police issue. From personal experience I can say that it has worked, I had tweeted the PMC commissioner the picture of a garbage issue in my society and within no time the message had reached the engineer of the Bibewadi ward and the necessary steps were taken. Using social media as a tool to take action is more effective than using the influence of a powerful politician. Despite the fact that there are several activists in Pune doing good work it is high time we become an activist for ourselves.
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