Monday, July 28, 2008

Lack of Foresight

OK! So, Everyone knows about monsoons in India. In fact the term itself represents heavy rains. It has been over 60s years since Independence, and even now when it rains we have to wade and swim in water to go where we need to, and this even in big cities like New Delhi. Imagine the plight of smaller more remote places. I know governments fail in delivery, especially successive Indian governments have failed to deliver on the rain water drainage front for more than 60 years now. Two weeks back when I was in Delhi, whole areas were water logged and traffic came to a stand still. Today in Ahmedabad, even within campus I am annoyed that I have to wade through ankle deep water to get to anyplace. I am relatively well off by being on campus, can't even begin to imagine the plight of those that live off campus and have to drive or take public transport to work. Responses to problems are knee-jerk rather than calculated and strategic, and the solution to one problem leads to problems elsewhere.
Take the Delhi metro construction for example. The idea is good that they are planning a metro to ease congestion and meet the demands of the growing population. However, the metro sites and planners seem to have grossly overlooked the fact that already congested roads are squeezed even tighter when the construction of the metro line implies that one side of the road is completely closed to traffic, thereby channeling two sides of traffic on a single lane and choking the roads. In addition, they have not planned for the monsoon season. Digging up roads has made the thoroughfare loamy and when it rains the areas are practically impassable due to water logging. Here in Ahmedabad as well, just outside of campus, a huge section of the road completely collapsed. It had been under some construction project, aka dug up! There is a complete lack of foresight with everything. Cities were not planned for population increases and all of this due to some romantic notion that people would prefer to stay in villages and not migrate from the rustic settings. Grrrr!! When mega cities are thought of by corporates, the politicians are afraid they will lose their rents and the bureaucrats are afraid they will lose their power and thus rents and so they stall the projects stating all kinds of silly reasons. After all the politicians and bureaucrats will lose their rents if people become richer in India. They have to be kept poor and divided along class and caste lines for the former to have the upper hand.
Neither does the government do a good job, nor does it want it give the job to private guys who will do a good job. The saddest part of all of this is that in spite of being a democracy people can do nothing about it in India. People do show their displeasure with regimes during elections, but the choice is after all between the frying pan and the fire.

No comments: