ONE CANNOT but congratulate this newspaper for highlighting the prevailing VIP culture (Bhopal Live, 14/9) in the local administration at various levels, including civic authorities. The expose’ had to be done someday by somebody; and, it is good that this newspaper, like the Good Samaritan it has always been for the locals, has taken the lead.
Things, indeed, are seen to be going from bad to worse. Resources, which are always scarce, are being used up for the benefit of the few, with a vast majority of people in the town denied even basic civic facilities.
The report rightly picked on Char Imli, a highly pampered area as it happens to be the habitat of the high and the mighty. Not only its roads are laid and re-laid over and over again, it has been favoured with extensive parks, ponds and what-have-you.
Its greenery is enviable; in comparison, some parts of even New Bhopal appear arid and the old City, of course, seems like a close-second to the Thar.
Likewise, the stretch between Chief Minister’s house and the Governor’s House is another of those roads, which is repeatedly laid and re-laid. There is, reportedly, always a scramble amongst contractors to corner the work for this stretch as specifications are optimal yet repeated carpeting does not demand adherence to them.
Nevertheless, despite its gradients, it remained undamaged even after the recent unprecedented heavy rains, while the road joining it from in front of the Polytechnic is in a shambles. Evidently, our road-builders can, if they want to, build roads that can withstand heaviest of rains, but, only if, yes, only if, they have fear of an uncompromised and/or uncompromising controlling organisation.
Then, only on this road, to the exclusion of all others in the town, one finds road-indications put up by the PWD from the Raj Bhawan down to the Chief Minister’s house. For the PWD this, apparently, is the only road that matters. While the chauffer-driven local biggies rolling by in cavalcades of assorted vehicles hardly ever notice them, elsewhere visitors to the town cannot get anywhere without asking for directions.
Again, the sidewalks around the Governor’s house that are least trod on have been paved, whereas lakhs are made to plod everyday down the rough and unpaved sidewalks of Hamidia Road.
Further up, around the MLAs Hostel, it is a different world. Spic and span, not a shred of garbage anywhere, the roads licked clean, well-maintained parks, the works –the very antithesis of the well-known hallmarks of the town!
One wouldn’t have grudged all these thoughtful ministrations of the authorities concerned only if they had bestowed the same care and attention to other parts of the town where the ‘un-privileged’ – taxpayers, nonetheless – live out their life.
Every public institution is sucking up to the VIPs for their fear or favour. Even the traffic police, leaving the chaotic traffic in the City to Heavenly mercy, take care only of the VIPs.
The municipality makes its employees to work gratis at their residences. One could go on and on recounting such instances involving gross inequitable deployment of civic and other resources in favour of those who have already extracted maximum personal benefits out of the exchequer.
Clearly, the “Servants of the people” are lording over their masters! A stage has now come when the system needs to be purged of its VIP syndrome. Using the RTI, public spirited individuals and organisations should expose the deviance in every case of perceived iniquitous allocation of resources or delivery of services.