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Monsoon in urban India

Posted On: 2 Aug, 2018 Common Man Issues में

जागरण संपादकीय ब्लॉगबहस, वाद-विवाद व विमर्श का मंच

Tarun Gupta, Jagran

13 Posts

333 Comments

We Indians often grapple with conflicting emotions. We are unsure of what we want or rather what is good for us and hence are perplexed as to what to seek in our prayers. This befuddlement is most glaring during the monsoon season. How else does one explain the predicament when for 10 months in a year we adjure rain and when it rains we are addled, we don’t know what to do. Perhaps the rain Gods would be as boggled as we are.
The shambolic state of our civic infrastructure is not lost out on anyone. Our administrative apathy has become a routine that no longer raises eyebrows. Just when you think you’ve experienced the worst, there is a new low round the corner. It seems that different government departments are competing to hit rock bottom.
A cursory glance of the news reports over the last couple of days will buttress the above sentiment, well certainly for the sentient human beings if not for the callous administrative machinery. People have been electrocuted, felled by fallen trees, crushed under collapsed roofs, roads have caved in, buildings are threatening to fall and hence evacuated. These tragedies have befallen in the national capital and the national capital region, the so-called smart cities, which in reality should not even qualify as livable cities.
Some basic questions play on my mind. Is the annual rainfall an every year feature in these very months or a once in 12 years kumbh ka mela that we are always found ill equipped?It’s akin to that juvenile joke of seeing a banana skin and thinking that we will have no choice but to fall again. Is it not as absurd as that?
Whenever the executive or the bureaucracy is berated, they in their defense disapprove standard generalizations. Lets review some specific instances:
There have been logjams, not on tertiary roads but on a newly constructed elevated highway connecting one smart city of the national capital region with the national capital. The reason cited was water logging. The drainage on the latest highway was inadequate. We know by now that water logging apart from traffic snarls leads to road break down as well. Our roads do not last even a season. The numbers are just too large to even list, just drive from Delhi to Meerut for a first hand experience. Are roads built to last or to be rebuilt?
The city roads and parks have turned into lakes. The sewage and wastewater flow is restricted in the sewage drains and finds a free flow on the colony roads and in people’s homes. Buses have drowned, cars have toppled and residents will soon need to undertake seasonal boat trips to run their errands. Who says we are yet to build waterways? Please don’t fret if those boats capsize, you could always swim, at least the fit India objective is served.
Don’t be as petulant to grumble about sanitation. When have the civic authorities actually delivered on that front? We are yet to see an operational set up of garbage collection, dumping and disposal. There is always an open sewage drain just in the vicinity. The drainage system dates back to the British era. Sewage treatment plants seldom function. Our holy rivers are filthier than drains. If challenges of clean food and water were not enough, clean air has become daunting as well. At least that is the conspicuous state of the U.P cities, the national capital Delhi, the commercial capital Mumbai. Lets not even benchmark to the first world countries, we are loath to imbibe even from M.P cities that have exceedingly and consistently fared so well on this count.
This is the state of affairs when the highest office of the country has initiated and propagated a clean India campaign. The administration, which forever has been impervious to condemnation, seems to have now inured itself even to the directives of the Prime Minister.I do not know whether to call it insouciance or impunity? Perhaps collapse of governance.
Another tragicomic factoid is that every year parts of the country are ravaged by torrential rain and some areas hurt by drought. The environmentalists and the engineers are divided whether river-linking project is prudent or not but without a shadow of doubt, the macro water management can be more efficient than this.
One of the essential requirements from the executive apart from rule of law is salubrious sanitation. In the absence of either, the fundamental right to live with dignity is compromised.
What I said at the outset, as residents of this misgoverned region, we are posed with a quandary. When the mercury is soaring above 40 degrees Celsius, we beseech rain and on suffering the crumbling infrastructure as an aftermath, we are coerced to promptly renege from our orison.
I for one tend to importunately entreat the almighty to provide for a mechanism of selective monsoon, where rain falls only on the rural agro fields and not on the urban city roads. Sounds bizarre, but perhaps only as outlandish as the dystopian state around us. Till then I would rather endure the heat and its concomitant repercussions than be inundated by the monsoon miseries.
What a travesty that the word monsoon is no longer exulting, it has become dreadful.

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