Blame game over city plight won’t solve our problems

Primepost Bureau

Three days of sunshine has given Hyderabadis the much needed respite from incessant rains. If the dry weather continues for a few more days, citizens can hope to see the civic body taking up repairs to many roads that look more like craters than potholes in many places of the city.

Earlier, whatever repairs had been done, they were all patchwork. With the recent rains, temporary ‘fillings’ on roads had been washed away, leaving wide gaps and deep openings. In the night, they pose a big danger to two-wheeler riders and cyclists. If they are not careful, they risk serious falls.

Who is responsible for turning the roads into potential death traps? Of course, the vigorous monsoon is the culprit. Since none can mend nature’s behavior, the blame has to begin somewhere and end somewhere else.

First, it was ‘unexpected downpour’ or ‘deluge’ that turned half of the city a sister of Venice, followed by a super active monsoon. Then came allegations of government not sanctioning money for road repairs in constituencies represented by various legislators and corporators. Since the civic body doesn’t have crores to bring roads to normal shape, the funds have to come from the state government. But the state has to get massive financial aid from the centre to initiate any major road repair. At the moment, the Modi government is more concerned about Pak designs on the border than the bad road conditions in Hyderabad. Where does the buck stop now? The blame game has taken a full circle.

In fact, when we look at the myriad problems of this megacity — from overflowing lakes after the rains, illegal constructions on lake beds, vendors occupying pavements, water and sewage problems, chaotic traffic, to name a few – it’s clear no civic body or local government  can tackle them. If justice is done to at least a couple of issues, we should feel happy.

We keep reading official promises; we also know how hollow they are. The gap between a promise and its fulfillment is wide and rarely a sincere effort is made to bridge it.  Reason is simple: the capital city has grown horizontally and vertically without any planned direction. Both the people and the government of the day are responsible for creating this mess. And, there is no point in blaming each other for the deterioration in basic facilities.

For example, in the last few days, demolitions of illegal structures have been going on. Residents who had been thrown out of their dwellings cried foul, cursed officials and threatened protests. Their anger is understandable and one has to empathize with them. But who is responsible for illegal constructions? Real estate developers or contractors or brokers who sold them to gullible public or the buyers with full knowledge? Again a round of blame game.

This will go on when a city grows beyond manageable limits. To check this trend, what we need is a new model of development where the local representative should be made responsible to address the problems. It may be pointed out that the present governing structure is based on this concept. But how many times local council members meet the people and resolve their problems without getting into political affiliations? Moreover, they will hardly find time to attend to public problems as they are busy most of the time with party affairs and keeping their power and positions.

In other words, what we require is micromanagement to make urban life livable.

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