Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Bangalore flooded in summer!

Imagine, a flood in summer! That's what happened in Bangalore on Saturday. On a night of heavy downpour, water entered houses and basements of apartment complexes, roads became unmotorable, streets resembled lakes, and one didn't know if there was ground or drain under water. The tragic fallout: one woman was washed away. Surely it doesn't speak well of a global Indian city.

More than the tragedy what matters are corrective steps. And, that's where we draw a blank. Civic problems mostly stem out of violations of rules and regulations pertaining to construction of housing and commercial complexes. And, yesterday, chief minister H D Kumarasway, who visited some flooded localities, threw his hands up, and said he would have to handle the issue of encroachments with kid-gloves since it was a sensitive matter. Flagrant abdication of responsibilities? What else.

If a person has been legally paying taxes for an illegal property, and that too for years on end, then there is something surely rotten with the system. Worse, our inability, or better, our lack of interest to set an anomaly right. That's what the CM's statement indicates.

When a government official comes to take action against an illegally constructed building, then the building owner quietly flashes the receipts for the property and all other taxes he has been paying over the past so many years. "If this building is illegal, then how come taxes were collected, why no one told me about this till now? And, how can you take action, when I have been paying taxes for so long?" that's what the owner will ask the government official.

This is typical of many hydra-headed government organisations, wherein one wing is completely clueless to what another related wing is doing. A society and its economy needs to grow, but not in an unregulated manner, like Bangalore has been growing.

The common premise is that one can get away with anything. The joke, "You can even get the governor's residence legally registered in your name", is an indication of the malaise we live with. While the government needs to be blamed for the lack of resolve, the citizens too should ponder over the willingness with which he has exploited the loopholes in the system for his selfish gains.

The runaway growth that has been allowed in Bangalore is like a killer monster that spews goodies. We are happy with the little goodies no matter if there is widespread destruction. If the growth is slowed down (i.e., if the killer monster is tamed and tethered) there may be some inconvenience (the killer's goodies may not the available). But, Bangalore will emerge as a well-administered city.

But the moot question is are we ready to take the pains to put things order; or are we just content with complaining? The howl of protests whenever the government takes a corrective step forward to make this city better, is, sadly, an indication of the latter.


  1. It's the same old story whenever it rains, every year at any time.

    There is absolutely no improvement in the way the city, or for that matter, the country is run. Did you read about the Police Chief of Maharashtra and what has he been up to? I mean, I read stuff like this and I feel for me, us and our countrymen and I wonder what went so wrong that the country has gone to the dogs?

    I am sorry for an outburst like this but when I read this post of yours, I thought, if Mahrashtra's top cop can be someone like this guy, can anyone else, anywhere, be left behind?

  2. i guess it was bound to happen, i dont know what is to come next.

    when morons rule from the top, the result is chaos...and i agree, yes, it is the common man's apathy that brought about this situation...

    all the politician wants is more mooolah in the coffer..

  3. What else can you expect if dry lakes are converted into plots? Planning is alien to us!

  4. Real nice stuff. I love this. Just wanted to add that the politicians alone are not the criminals. Bureaucrats are far more powerful and far more corrupt than politicians but average Indian, nay, even journalists, perceive that ONLY the politians are corrupt. Anyway...

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  5. yes, Armaan, u are right there...one is reminded of Sir Humprey in 'yes minister'!!!

    a question - in what way has the common man made the two sets of rulers - politicians and bureaucrats answerable? will he ever make them answerable? if not the situation will be even more misearble!!

  6. When as an ordinary citizen we cannot take shelter behind ignorance of law how can the governement departments get away with Not knowing what happens in another part of the governement?