Saturday, February 17, 2018
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dussera allahabad

The Dussehra celebrations are over.  Rain and high-velocity winds kept many people at home. I stayed back too, not risking stirring out of the house.

Some readers  sent me SMSs to find out how I fared during the Ramdals. I may tell them that I couldn’t go. If the  weather had been fair, I would certainly have gone to see the illuminations—only the illuminations-- because I stopped waiting for the Dals when the organizers turned the whole affair into a lethargic exercise by Late Latifs.  Technology hasn’t changed during the last 50-60 years. In fact we had better illuminations in the past than we have them today. But things were not stretched till dawn as now. In fact  on the night of the combined Dals, cinema halls had to show two films on one ticket to attract viewers into staying till dawn to see the Shringaar chowkie. Today the main chowkies do not come till that hour.

But I would certainly like to condemn the horrible state of our roads on which supposedly crores of rupees were spent for the pre-Mahakumbh facelift. No one’s sleep has been disturbed. Just contrast this with what happened in Lucknow the other day. An official made a slip in drafting a letter to officials for dealing with an important issue. Nothing went wrong except that it gave bad publicity to the Government. But for that the Home Secretary was transferred if not suspended. Some others too got or will get the axe.I am not challenging the action taken. But I do want to  just offer a contrast. In the letter fiasco, a clerical error was committed, or so it is explained. Even if it was deliberate, the fiasco was discovered before anything could happen. And what would have happened except that the image of the Government would have got a temporary jolt but soon thereafter it would have been cleared as well.
But here in Allahabad crores were sanctioned for the roads which have given way in no time. What is more, these pot-holed roads are damaging  vehicles in various ways when they pass over unseen jutting, protruding stones . This is not all. Where the road has become very bumpy  ( because all the sub-standard material has been thrown off in splinters by the passing wheels of heavy vehicles),   those sitting on two wheelers have to suffer bone-cracking jerks and jolts. Some people have complained of bone dislocation. Some have complained about getting an attack of spondylitis. Some vehicles have skidded , seriously injuring the riders. Tempos have fallen on their sides. We may blame other things for all this. But bad roads are playing a major role in causing much of the damage. Those who have suffered physically must have incurred heavy expenditure on medical treatment. If all the inconvenience, damages, losses caused by the broken battered roads are calculated in terms of money, the amount may touch several lakhs. This is in addition to the losses suffered by the people or the different departments for restoring the underground cables and pipelines damaged by the irresponsible use of the bull-dozers. For the loss of crores of rupees –no suspension. But for a clerical error transfers and suspensions!  Public safety and welfare seems to b at the bottom of the administration’s list of priorities. Had it not been so, a State Minister  would have  come to Allahabad and made a list of those whom he had threatened to dump into the rivers if they produced work of sub-standard quality. We can assure him that none will drown because the water will fall short to accommodate all of them.
 All that they may suffer from is acute cold or some water-borne disease by gulping the river pollutants!


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