Fact: no mortal can say 'no' to a plate of beautifully cooked, aromatic biryani. Playing on this weakness for an environmental cause, a district collector, Prasanth Nair from Kerala posted a Facebook status inviting people of Koyilandy in Kozhikode to gather together and clean the polluted Pisharikavu lake. In exchange, the Kozhikode district collector offered the volunteers a treat of delectable Kozhikode biryani, a spicy Malabar specialty.
Quite the popular figure on Facebook with 100,000 followers, N. Prasanth’s offer resulted in around 750 people turning up in large numbers on Republic Day, this Tuesday to comb the 57,000 square-metre lake. The volunteers then feasted on steaming Kozhikode biryani dished out by the district collector.
How did N. Prasanth pay for the biryani? He used the funds allocated for drought prevention to save the Pisharivaku lake for clean water resources.
The man behind this ingenious plan took over as Kozhikode district collector last February and has developed quite a fan following since. He uses Facebook to interact with people about schemes, health initiatives and projects. His approach is humorous and open and addresses people by calling them ‘bhai’. In return, people have warmed up to him and refer to him as ‘bro’ and ‘rockstar’.
N. Prasanth has earned himself a good reputation for cleaning up the district and making sure that funds actually reach the people and projects that they are for. The Kerala government has been trying persuade groups and organisations to carry out such environmental cleanliness drives; they have even offered financial aid for these drives, but to no avail.
It looks like Kozhikode biryani has managed to do what money could not.
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