The indian monsoon has shown up in a proper gusto after many years. I can’t really recall when it rained like this the last time. It has surely been a while and while fresh rains have done their part in making the weather in Delhi fantastic, they have managed to bring back some of the problems that all residents are well versed with. I am of course talking about the war logging and the damaged roads.
Its not like this is something new to India and even now several major cities are water logged and traffic jams span for miles. Delhi doesn’t usually get this much rain but it just goes to show how unprepared we are to handle even a basic issue. The roads for instance are in shambles and I’m not just talking about potholes. I am talking about giant abandoned holes in the road that have the potential to cripple a vehicle or even injure a motorist. Add rain into the mix and it turns into a trap. Your suspension can easily snap, lock nuts can come loose and any range of things can happen. And don’t even get me started about safety for two-wheelers. Just today a man drove into a pot hole and fell on the road while a truck ran over him. Lives lost over poor maintenance are the worst. Because something can be done to prevent them. it takes one man to not do his job properly to have another man lose his life. The connection here is rather direct.
And it’s not like repair work cannot be done. The day these institutions find out that the Prime Minister or the chief minister are going to pass through that road, everything changes. overnight, the road gets mended with a fresh coat of tarmac, the sidewalks get painted and all the garbage that usually collects around the roads (have to blame the local population for this) gets swept away. So its not like this work cannot be done or that there is a dearth of manpower or resources. Just recently, the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh spend crores on marking a useless line on the sidewalks and calling them a “cycle track” in a drive. Now all this looks good on paper and he was hailed for his great vision in every single publication that was probably bought and funded by the government. But if you take a closer look it tells a different story. The cycle track is built on an existing sidewalk that is damaged extensively and often ends abruptly in a ditch. There are low hanging trees, obstructions and what not. But the point i am trying to make that this abysmal idea was executed with great efficiency. Most overnight. Why is it that something useless gets all the attention and the need of the hour is overlooked time and time again? Are we as tax payers paying money for this nonsense? And where is the money going? If it is being spent on building useless cycle tracks which no one will end up using because they are built with the worst possible execution. Its all money flushed down the toilet.
Now agreed that Noida per se doesn’t have much of a water logging problem compared to the city of Gurgaon. Being a rather fresh city, gurgaon had the potential to stand as a testament to what happens when a city is built with proper planing and execution. and while the Gurgaon skyline may remind some people of Manhattan, the ground realities are a lot different. When you have water stagnating from rain it no longer remains a question of poor planning. It becomes a sanitation issue, it becomes a health issue, it becomes a safety issue. Corrupt officials make statements saying that due to existing projects and stuff, the road works have not been able to be completed and man power has been diverted etc. I think this is what happens when politicians get involved in the development process. That should be left to engineer with an understanding of drainage, after having discussions with meteorologists who have data on rain for the past few decades. On top of that you must deploy road inspection teams to look up various area that need attention. There are twitter handles and Facebook pages created for people to report any such areas that need attention and nothing is being done. Nothing worth mentioning atleast.
The tax payer feels cheated. He feels that if the government cannot even provide a decent road to drive on, then what is the point of paying taxes anyway. And it all boils down to corruption. Corrupt lazy officials feeding off the middle class and offering mediocrity in return. I believe the reason there is a public outrage about pretty much everything these days is because the public have had enough of this nonsense. Now this may not be dictatorship from the government in the classic sense but isn’t it though?
Take Malaysia for instance. Being an island in the tropics they have several issues. It rains all round the year and being an island their water table is fairly high compared to other landlocked countries. Water logging was a thorn in the side for them but they acted smart but building a tunnel. A tunnel that had three levels and also catered to the traffic. The top two levels had traffic going either side and the lowest level had all the flood waters diverted elsewhere. In case of an emergency, the top two lanes could also be used to divert water. This smart tunnel has solved the problem greatly. A simple and elegant solution. Why can this not be done in India? How is it that you have floods in some places and a drought just next to it? why is it that we cannot direct some of the flood waters to the dry regions and lend a helping hand to rural india as well in the process? How is it that this is idea is so far fetched that no one has thought of this?
It has always been a lack of foresight that has crippled India as a nation. The roads are too narrow everywhere, houses are built right next to the roads so nothing can be done now, flyovers that are built are only 2 lanes wide, the metro that is built only has two parallel tracks instead of more, population control is still ineffective in the country, the number of cars that are deployed every single day are adding to the mess that already exists, new cities are built on the same crappy ancient principles and don’t even get me started on the government’s role in making things worse.
Why must a tax payer pay taxes in such a system? In the end it all ends up in the pocket of some fat bureaucrat looking to buy his son an Audi on his birthday. It takes one man, one incompetent man to bring progress to a standstill. And sadly, India is full of incompetent blithering idiots sitting in offices doing nothing productive.
Ache din? I don’t think so.