NCR of any country is supposed to be a model of the country itself. Any nation’s USP, strengths as well as weaknesses can be seen by looking closely at its capitals. So if Delhi has good roads, good focus on high-end education for the rich it can be assumed that it is so in other parts as well.
Similarly on other hand, if it has poor education infra for poor, bad quality of roads and bad sanitation systems then it can be safely assumed that the entire nation faces the same. Here, I’d want to highlight and work towards improving a lot of shortcomings that exist in our system as I have been doing in my posts below but am restricting this post to urban sanitation.
Until a decade ago, most of the Indian cities were clean with Municipal corporations discharging their duties properly. However, situation has worsened now. Lets see what went wrong.
Since 90s or rather post India opening up in 91, it witnessed a speedier pace of industrialization. License Raj was gone and everyone was free to start his own business. Multiple brands for same products right from Gutkhas to Mineral water, chips to baked products and electronics to automobiles emerged along with redistribution of income with more people getting more spending power and India’s Middle Income Group (MIG) suddenly catching attention of manufacturers’ attention across the globe.
The Americans, Koreans, Japanese and many others set-up shop here to hire the MIGs and sell their products to them (as well as export). This Indian MIG which has been reading and listening about living standards and lifestyles of the west suddenly started finding bits and pieces of those in their lives and grabbed every new gizmo or chips being thrown at it.
Suddenly they started moving out much more, buying much more and then wasting and littering much more, a concept that was just not there before 90s. This paradigm shift continues to be talked about in all Business Houses’ marketing conferences.
However, what is not being talked about is the mess they’ve created in the making of this new India. Darwin ruled – those who could encash this opportunity, jumped upon it the fastest. So, the MNCs as well as the domestic firms made and sold products while leaving the scavenging to the govt and its municipals.
Apparently, it was up to the govt to direct its municipals to figure out ways to cope-up with the clean-up. This clearly has not happened. We still talk about regular repairs and expansion of necessary infrastructure (roads, sewerage pipelines, electricity) but nothing has happened to monitor the progress of existing as well as new measures.
Take the case of garbage dumping. Moving around Delhi, Gurgaon or any other region, we can find big garbage dumps with all sort of garbage lying in the midst of the colonies. The garbage system is active, there are people with jobs for cleaning up the same but there seems to be no guidelines on how to do the job. There is no penalty for not keeping the gathering points clean and hygienic.
The problem lies with the lethargy of the government. It is simply not accepting that something has changed over the years at a pace much faster than it imagined and as a consequence it doesn’t see the need to act fast and do justice to their jobs. So, the job gets transferred onto us, the citizens who if alone doesn’t count but when together can get its voice heard everywhere.
We need to adopt the DIY model i.e. Do It Yourself. It doesn’t mean exactly that we start picking up the garbage and cleaning the stuff but what it does mean is that we need to get our act together and start talking to people responsible for the mess around us.
This is what people in Gurgaon recently did and did more than once when Municipal Corp of Gurgaon (MCG) simply started dumping truckloads of garbage right under their nose, to expose them to a blissful stench along with direction of wind (we still thank windgods for not blowing in same direction all the time) and exposing them to dangers of epidemic looming large over their heads. And talk about it being the millennium city with choicest of professionals choosing it as their homes.
Residents including CEOs of MNCs, mother of Yuvraj Singh, our star cricketer himself and many others demonstrated on roads and tried to stop the dumping. Their voice was heard and they were assured of quicker action on resolving this problem. How quick it would be resolved still remains a question but the people certainly have not sit quiet and are following their demands by going to state capital Chandigarh to visit the courts and trying to get a reprieve from the problem at the earliest.
Moral of the story is that India needs awakening and this can be done by none other than Indians themselves, the real Indians who face the brunt of inaction of their elected representatives as well as inefficient and slow govt departments. They have got tools in their hands like RTI, RWAs, Media through which can they ask questions and get answers and as a result improve their lives themselves. The mantra is DIY.
Do share your views on the same and suggest your viewpoints on the same.