Friday, July 29, 2016

It's the same story all over again!

The television grabs showed the pitiable sight of the motorists and the general public on the roads of Gurgaon and Bangalore, that were waterlogged due to continuous rains over the day. The civic amenities and prompt help to people in difficulty, were found wanting. I don't even want to think of the many medical emergencies that could have ended up on a sad note because of the impasse.

The general public, who pays taxes, for the upkeep of the roads must be wondering as to whether they deserve this sort of neglect year after year!

And they'd changed the names of these two cities to 'Gurugram' and 'Bengaluru' from 'Gurgaon' and 'Bangalore', respectively, with much fanfare. The paradox is that the cities have been given high sounding names like the 'millenium city' and 'maximum city'. Isn't that a joke when the infrastructure support is non existent and as is the case of most of our cities, the arterial roads are that of '60s vintage while the traffic that flows through day in and day out contains the vehicles of '16. The staggering increase in the volume of traffic demands roads that are wide with the most modern technologies that can cater to immediate emergencies, breakdowns and a system to provide immediate medical assistance to passengers/motorists when necessary.

How many of our cities can boast of a well laid sewage system, covered gutters along side the roads that ensure flow of water without permitting the water logging of the motorway in times of torrential/monsoon rains? .........If it's floods, then forget it and leave everything to the almighty hoping like mad that the things would go right!

On a visit to China, an Indian delegation was completely fascinated by the long stretches of highways that were unbelievably straight and had all the trappings of the best of assistance. So, they asked their Chinese chaperone as to how that was made possible and the reply shows why we can't ever achieve that sort of development, which was:-

     "The usual impediments to having straight highways are mountains, water bodies and dwelling 
       areas. We burrow through the mountains to make tunnels, build bridges over the water bodies
       and shift settlements to new areas so that the work can be executed. It's a national requirement"

In our country, unfortunately, we've people going to court over land acquisition for government sponsored infrastructural projects at the drop of a hat, development be damned! Vested interests with narrow vision have created havoc......let me give just two examples:-

       (a) Lata Mangeshkar, our Bharat Ratna, has prevented the building of a flyover near her house
            in Bombay because she says that it would obscure her house!
       (b) The collective lot of traders at the Jose Junction at Kochi who've been against the building
             of a flyover because they say that it would affect their outlets' frontage!!

And I'm sure that there are so many such examples all over the country and what makes it alarming is that all such grand standing have political patronage.......Is there anything else to say?


For starters, let the municipalities take immediate action to modernise the cities under their jurisdiction. There's no dearth of resources but sadly, there's a lack of will! A well connected sewage system, a round-the-clock waste disposal and management system, wide roads with central medians and covered gutters along side them to prevent water logging are a few of the things that must be set up forthwith. Shop/house owners must be provided with compensation and alternate sites and all those who try to be difficult should be firmly dealt with.      

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