Noida’s police officials are in the dock for doing little for Nithari’s missing children who landed up in sewage drains.
But why were those drains not cleaned? And why must citizens throw all their waste into drains?
If the drain behind main suspect Moninder Singh Pandher's house had been cleaned periodically, the first death could possibly have set off enough alarms to prevent more. And if the alleged illegal encroachment over a drain by Pandher — to create a shaft where body parts were stuffed — had not been allowed, the bodies might have been detected earlier.
Sanjiv Saran, chief executive officer of the Noida Authority, asked the Hindustan Times to speak with R.S.Yadav, the health officer, about the drain. Yadav said the drain was a “storm drain” — it had a very strong flow of water in which no solid materials could have stayed.
"Only one hand, one leg, a few bones and a head have been found in the main drain,” Yadav said. “And how could we know about the stench? The parts were in double and triple layers of polythene.”
Yadav added: “The drains of Noida had rarely been cleaned before I took over this post three years ago. But even now, people throw anything and everything into the drains.”
Still, Noida’s citizens have their verdict laid out — a city at the heart of a real estate boom, but in the throes of official apathy. “Noida is nobody's child,” said Shalini Malhotra, a resident of Sector 17. "Unlike Delhi, on which the government claims Noida is an improvement, we have no municipal corporation or assembly. The drains here stink.”
Noida forms a part of the Gautam Budh Nagar district. The district headquarters are located 30 km away, at Surajpur. “We need a mayor who we can hold accountable for the problems in governance," said N.P. Singh, president, Federation of Residents' Welfare Associations of Noida.
Worse, a superstition popular among politicians — that a chief minister who visits Noida loses his seat — is often believed to keep them away from the city. "The activities here are remote-controlled from Lucknow and the chief ministers don't come here due to the Noida jinx," said Sushil Aggarwal, a former president of the city’s resident associations.
“Under the existing laws, there is no provision for any people’s representation in governance here. We do our best to provide civic amenities but the authority is after all a body created to develop an industrial township,” a senior Noida Authority official said on condition of anonymity.