Amresh Kumar and his youth brigade inspect a defunct tube well at Adityapur Housing Colony on Thursday. (Bhola Prasad)
A youth boasting an engineering degree invariably conjures up an image of someone with a lucrative job in a leading MNC.
Amresh Kumar even lived that life briefly, but the staring civic problems in his own backyard compelled him to sit up and tread off the beaten track.
The 25-year-old is now a contestant for the post of ward councillor in the civic polls for Adityapur Municipal Corporation (AMC), scheduled on April 7.
The elder son of advocate and civil rights crusader Om Prakash, Amresh, a resident of Adityapur Housing Colony and alumnus of DAV-NIT (2005 batch), he completed BTech (mechanical stream) from Andhra University (Vishakapatnam) in Andhra Pradesh in 2010.
Plum campus placement offers in Nagarjuna Construction Company Limited and Larsen and Toubro as graduate engineer trainee followed.
After opting for a Larsen and Toubro job with a Tata Steel Works project, Amresh decided to set up his own entrepreneurial venture and registered a small-scale ancillary unit at Adityapur early last year.
He soon became frustrated with the callousness of civic authorities in solving basic problems.
“I spent five years in Vishakapatnam and after returning to Adityapur in 2011, I was busy with my job. It was after setting up my own venture and frequenting the locality that I got to know the basic problems plaguing my ward (No. 25). I approached the AMC official several times but failed to get any response,” said Amresh.
What hurt Amresh the most was the clogged drains — a breeding ground of mosquitoes — lack of sanitation facilities forcing people, especially women, to defecate in the open and a poor state of drinking water facility in the locality.
“I was disgusted that despite several complaints, the civic officials did not even care to clear the drains. After browsing the Internet, I came to know that there are many central government schemes for sanitation, including construction of toilets. But surprisingly, our locality does not seem to have executed these schemes. Most of the tube wells (the only source of water) have also gone dry,” he rued.
Ironically, the residence of incumbent AMC chairman Rita Srivastava also happens to be in the same ward.
A chance meeting with Jamshedpur MP Ajoy Kumar during Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel’s birth anniversary celebrations at Michael John Auditorium in Bistupur on October 31 last year gave Amresh the inspiration to take matters into his own hands.
“Ajoyji told me that if I was serious in solving the problems, I should come into the system and change its functioning. He even advised me to begin by contesting the civic polls. I had kept this in mind and when the notification was issued for the election early this month I discussed with my father and filed my nomination,” said Amresh.
The youngster has also formed a youth brigade of the locality whose members will be go on a door-to-door campaign from March 22 (after allotment of symbols).
“I will be raising the local problems with the voters and promise to solve them if elected,” said Amresh.
There are 2,240 voters in a populace of around 7,000 in the ward that comprises densely populated tribal areas such as Raidih Basti, Ambedkar Nagar, Lankatola and Indra Colony.