Municipal Corporations

It's all over the front pages of newspapers in Delhi today. One big monsoon type rain and the kind of havoc it created in the 'National Capital'. This is a city where more has happened to improve living conditions in the last few years than in any other city in India. the metro is up and running, there is a series of fly-overs to move traffic along faster than before, there is an expressway...New buildings are coming up at the speed of light. And yet, at the first instance of the kind of thing that is supposed to be a daily occurrence during the monsoons, the city comes to a grinding halt.

Why this has to happen year after year I have no idea. Surely the municipality knows that rains are a feature of the monsoon, and that therefore they have to get the drains cleaned out and compleet whatever perishing digging-up the roads works they have taken up before it comes pouring down. But why should they bother? They are more concerned with fighting with other departments or pointing fingers of blame elsewhere while as usual the hapless citizens lost time and money stuck in traffic. Even today, the MCD is claiming to have completed all the desilting and is busy pointing the finger at other PWD people, despite all the evidence to the contrary.

On Wednesday when the rains had barely started, it took a young colleague of mine 5 hours to get home - a 40 km drive that she usually does in an hour on other days. On Thursday scores of people spent most of the day on the road, without either being able to reach their workplace or turn back home. Does the government even know or care how much productive time is getting wasted? Is there any assessment of the monetary loss of this kind of thing? Given that most of the salaried class pays their taxes willy-nilly, which one could arguably peg as an investment into the future of the country, this is a really poor return on their investment. Any corporate house performing at this level of efficiency would soon have been rewarded by having investors pull out all their money, and I only wish we could do the same to the government!

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