Vijay K. Saluja

The news, some months back, under the caption `MCD asks court to review ban on farmhouse weddings` in the Times of India, made me, then, write a `piece`, without much ado. The reason put forward by the MCD, for review was `purportedly `lack of infrastructure` & had further given reasons that even the master plan was deficient with regard to the provision for organizing social events & now the DDA was in the process of locating suitable places, for auction to private entrepreneurs to, develop facilities for social functions & marriages!

As a city-manager, who has put in more than, thirty four years of service in a local- body of New Delhi, I feel, the plea put forward by MCD was specious. Even, majority of MCD`s own officials, might not go along with this argument. It is clearly a reflection of a mind-set, which has come to stay with most of the officials of local civic bodies of the country , in general & of Delhi, in particular !.

Non- accountability of actions, deeds & words is the order of the day [nay, months & years!]. Non-stringent actions, on the various orders of the courts, by various local-bodies, over the years have made concerned officials, more complacent. Contempt of court orders also now don`t ruffle them a wee-bit?! `Chalta- Hai` attitude is the hall-mark of most of the civic-body officials!
Incase, they have any constraints, they must spell-out.
It is a part of their job.

But, how their casual attitude is affecting the harried/affected public, by these wedding tamashas , can be gauged from my own personal experiences. Having shifted [about three years back] to Vasant Kunj, in a flat, which faced farm-houses, , one found the only road, leading to our flat, cluttered with truck[s] carrying portable lights for the wedding procession[s], trucks carrying band-wallahs, ghori wallahs, crackers-teams, much before the time for barratis, to assemble & then start for the wedding –venues, in the farms. A cavalcade of cars, bringing in guests, started around nine PM onwards, creating traffic jams of its own kind , right from the intersection of Andheriamorr-Mahipalpur road. The position got worsened, as & when, multi- weddings were solemnized, on the same night, in various farms located, in that part of Vasant Kunj. Reaching one` own flat, if one is returning to it , around nine PM, was no less tortuous than going around circles.

As if, this was not enough, the assembly of barattis & , arrival of bride-groom & their start for the venue was heralded with big bangs of crackers & fire-works of all kinds! Imagine the plight of old persons[sick] living in their own homes in this area, also of the school-children who were to study for tests & go to schools in the morning, & ofcourse, the working people, who were to leave early in the morning, for their offices/ schools.

All sorts of people, descended in this residential area, with `total` mood to celebrate & have fun. If this is the mind-set, then, booze also did not lag behind! This exercise was, repeated for days together, when the wedding season was on.

May we ask the key persons of Delhi Govt, MCD & DDA, where were they, when the master plan was being formulated. If , it had/was not possible for them, to envisage about this important social-infrastructure, then the only inference, one can draw is, either they were apathetic , insensitive or simply lack vision. That is why , perhaps, even the directions of the hon`ble court are not being followed with due applicaton & concern?!

Traffic mess & congestion on all the roads in the city which house farm houses & where marriages are soleminised, in particular, Express Link road off NH8, leading to Dwarka & also around Chhatarpur are very very common sights . The traffic police is also a harried lot, as they also express helplessness in coping with the generated traffic mess! Shortage of staff & less numbers of cranes are two of the many reasons cited by them for this state, as also reported on this Saturday[12th Dec] by a prominent daily.

What needs to be done? Putting of right type of persons with, attitude, commitment knowledge, sensitivity & vision, needs to be placed at key –positions in local-bodies. Accountabilty has to be sine-qua-non. Otherwise, I am afraid, we are almost nearing `Social-Tsunami`.?!!

We , all the stake holders, also, need to take up with the `powers- to- be` to act & act very fast, for the convenience & happiness of the citizens & in the interest of the city.

Writer is Convenor – Social Outreach Programme Committee
IIT Delhi Alumni Association
& Senior Fellow, Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi,

Source: Dwarka Parichay News & info Services