Editorial: 'Sab Chalta Hai' Culture Remains Unchanged And Unchangeable

Editorial: 'Sab Chalta Hai' Culture Remains Unchanged And Unchangeable

FPJ EditorialUpdated: Sunday, June 30, 2024, 10:02 PM IST
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The manner in which the capital’s first big showers last Thursday-Friday night brought it to its knees is a sorry comment on the way we do things. Whether it is building a small school building, or a big airport, the attitude is the same: Sab Chalta Hai. We do not seem to ever want to attain perfection. And honesty in implementing public infrastructure projects without leakages of funds and shoddy materials is unheard of. The capital’s airport, built by a private concessionaire, GMR, was supposed to be the best in the country. Yet the roof of the foyer at Terminal-I collapsed, killing a taxi driver and injuring a few others. Built on the Public-Private Participation model for which the then UPA government was a great enthusiast , terms of the agreement were slowly tinkered to favour the private concessionaire. Who despite standing to make huge profits was unable to ensure the security of the building as evidenced by the collapse of the foyer. It is important to get at the root of the accident and penalise the persons found guilty. Meanwhile, it is hoped the family of the deceased taxi driver would be adequately compensated. But the accident at the airport only signified the larger collapse of the civic infrastructure in the megapolis. For long hours people were marooned in their homes because the roads and flyovers were made inaccessible with knee-deep waters in most places. Scores of vehicles were submerged under rain water. With nullahs and sewage- lines back-flowing the problem of pumping out water from the roads and residential areas was made further difficult. Electric supply in large parts of the city was turned off, also for fear that transformers submerged in water may cause problems. It is significant that the capital has now got an AAP government for ten years and the same party is now in power in the municipal corporation. Despite claims of a great improvement the basic culture of governance remains unchanged.

But if this was in the national capital, reports from outside were no better. In Ram Nagri, Ayodhya, newly-built roads caved in at several places while the roof of the iconic temple had leaked a few days earlier. An embarrassed UP government suspended six PWD engineers while the Gandhinagar contractor was summoned for questioning. Not that Mumbai or Bengaluru or for that matter any other city or kasba in the country can claim to have a superior infrastructure. For, we are all Indians and are unlikely to change our shoddy habit of doing big and small projects in a most shoddy matter. The malaise probably begins at the tender stage when hardly any tender can be sanctioned without greasing some highly powerful palms of politicians and babus. And then the leakage of funds travels down to the last person involved in the implementation of the project. Without a real transformation in the political and administrative culture such periodic breakdowns of civic infrastructure are inevitable. Our misery is further compounded by the unusual weather events due to the global warming about which too we as a nation are doing precious little.

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