Wednesday, January 17, 2018
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The whole city was held to ransom by bulldozers. Those monsters on four wheels cut through the bowels of the earth brutally and mercilessly  not  caring a damn for the underground power and telephone cables and the water pipelines that carried drinking water to millions of people in the city.

The deaf and dumb if not blind authorities were not looking at all at the outrage that was being committed by the JCB machines. Their one-point assertion was that all this was being done to lay the sewer line in the entire city. Do you implement any new scheme by destroying the rest that may be in excellent or good working order? Fibre cables had been put for telephones; they were destroyed.  Water pipelines that were damaged were no one’s responsibility. The damned sufferers had to fend for themselves by replacing them at their own cost. And if the BSNL services collapsed, and along with them the Internet and Broadband services, it was stated in hush-hush tones that this was being done at the behest of the private rivals of the BSNL who had allegedly  bribed the right operational staff in the field. The BSNL must have suffered a loss of crores of rupees to say nothing of the immense suffering of the consumers and subscribers.
The Mahakumbh came and went. But what did we get? Just nothing. We are worse-off today than we ever were in the past. But the truth might not have come to light if the Weather God had not intervened to expose the game of those responsible for this unpardonable state of affairs. If after the heavy and continuous rain for nearly two hours on Sunday  afternoon you had seen the plight of our roads you would have wondered whether you are standing in Civil Lines or on the banks of some flooded river. The roads in Civil Lines had turned at several spots into sheets of water. The wheels of the car were almost fully under water at places. The two-wheelers stood helplessly, their owners wondering whether their vehicles were toy machines meant only for fair weather roads.
This was the story all over the city. One almost felt the pressing need of having a motorcar with boats fitted so that in case needed the boats could be pressed out by pressing a button to carry the vehicle through flooded roads. If a flying boat could be invented by the British, why can’t we have such boat-fitted cars? But  that can wait for future. Right now the citizens want to know what happened to the sewer lines that were promised? Where are the drains that worked so effectively and efficiently during the British days? Has any inquiry been ordered into the scandal of disappearing drains?  If not, then now is the time to do so. When Badal Chatterjee was the Nagar Ayukta, he was on the track of the route of the original big drain that the British had laid. When he was coming across startling facts, he was immediately transferred. The Aklhilesh Government should send back Badal to Allahabad to hold a one-man inquiry into the collapse of the  drainage system in Allahabad. And just as  houses illegally built in the marshy land are on the demolition list, the Government should have the courage to demolish  or drill through the portions of any building that may have usurped the big drain. It may appear to be an uphill task. But isn’t the drainage scandal also a multi-crore scam?

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