Vijay K. Saluja

Delhi had one of the coldest & foggiest sixty first Republic Day! On this day, there are still, thousands of families in every metro of India, who have no roofs over their heads, or any shelter whatsoever! They spend their days & nights in the open sky., facing the elements!

Out of the four metros-Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Delhi this season, is having one of the coldest January. In this harsh weather for sizable number of persons in the city, apart from their cosy homes, convectors, good food [and drinks] even one heavy quilt with an additional blanket is not enough but more than 15000 families in Delhi, as per the reports, are braving nay enduring one of harshest winter in recent times!!

This is a glaring & stark example of a non-inclusive city?! Non-inclusive because of many factors, over the years. One of the prime factor, to my mind is the apathy, insensitivity, non-caring attitude & self-centredness of some of the officials in local government, whose assigned job, is to take care of them.

One really gets appalled to read the media-reports of their heartlessness & lack of sensitivity amounting to brazen callousness of those officials who gave orders to demolish in December-2009, Pusa Road night-shelter, in the name of beautification & widening of roads etc, for Commonwealth Games!!!

I will not fault the whole Delhi, Govt or the LG or CM-Delhi for this cruel & sad episode? But, certainly, the officials who passed orders to do so, have no ATTITUDE, APTITUDE & BUSINESS To be in public service esp of local-governance.

There is an urgent need for introspection by the LG, CM, Chief Secretary Delhi & the Municipal Commissioner-MCD about the quality of the persons who are manning sensitive positions in DDA, MCD & NDMC, in particular & the Delhi Govt, in general..

Thanks to Supreme Court & the Delhi High Court who got anguished & appalled at this inhumane act & went into emergency mode, ordering immediate corrective actions.

But, the question which comes to mind is why at all, situations come to this pass! Are not the senior officers within the Delhi Govt to monitor & oversee the governance & management of the city-the capital of India? What about their accountability, sensitivity & empathy towards hapless families having young children, grown up daughters & old persons. What is the fault of these persons-that they were born in India?! Their requirements are very minimal.

The urgent need is to have Caring Govt-sensitive people`s representatives, accountable & efficient officials of right aptitude & attitude with qualities of head & heart-hearts which beat for the general public & not for a chosen-few.

Delhi Govt need to give more importance to this than to preparations for hosting Commonwealth Games, though that also can not be neglected. But caring for the hapless families in this harsh winter, to my mind, is a priority of any caring govt. The concerned officials need proper training & sensitizing.

Writer is CID Gallantry Award Winner-2010,
Ex Chief Engineer[civil], New Delhi Municipal Council

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