Vijay K. Saluja
Director, Giraffe Heroes India Program
Whether some of the readers of DWARKA PARICHAY & the Dwarka-residents may agree or not agree with me, but my personal feeling & observation is that Dwarka-once the well planned sub-city, which, I, carefully chose to live in, after for my superannuation, is in a state of civic-neglect!? This inference & conclusion, is also buttressed by the contents of various e-mails, which I, daily receive in my in-box, from many active, committed, dedicated Dwarkaites, whose hearts beat for this sub-city & who are relentlessly pursuing with the concerned authorities, be it South Delhi Municipal Corporation, DDA, Police i/c Traffic Police, BSNL, Delhi Metro, MTNL & other related agencies viz LG office, CM office, local elected representatives, media etc to get effective solutions to many civic & law & order problems which crop up every-day in almost all areas of Dwarka.
Some of the more active residents have also synergized their energies thru e-groups. I know some of these viz Dwarka Forum, Federation of RWAs of CGHS, Sukh Dukh Kay Saathi, ANHLGT. These are a few of the many civil-society groups which operate in Dwarka.Their members keep spending their energies,resources & time to get the issues/problems addressed adequately in a reasonable time, by the concerned authorities who are actually expected & mandated to keep Dwarka in a well-maintained & proper operational state.
During heavy rains, when the sub- way towards sector 21-22,gets filled up making even commuting difficult/impossible, they follow up with traffic police,DDA,SMCD, when traffic lights at many intersections go blink, causing commuting- nightmares esp at office-going & coming-from, time-they chase the traffic police.When garbage gets piled up, even the Association of the Ladies-ANHLGT, gets into fifth gear. Road cuts, broken footpaths, ill-maintained green spaces, non- working street lights are also the order of the day & the residents & RWA`s keep chasing the concerned civic authorities. But, sadly, their valiant efforts do not get commensurate responses from the concerned officials.
The question comes to my mind is -why the officials of various agencies in whose jurisdiction these civic faults occur & keep on recurring. do not move on their own, in a reasonable time-frame to mend matters.
In our government administrative system , every area of Dwarka is allocated to some officials of a particular organization , for proper development, enforcement as per laid down rules & regulations, regular maintenance & upkeep at all time. There is organizational-set-up in all the departments for officials/officers to execute various activities & over see the efficiency & work of junior officials/officers by their senior officers. If the system had been working as envisaged then the problems of civic neglect would not have occurred at all, But, the sad story is that not only various civic issues keep on surfacing in almost all the area, but these will keep mounting, as the earlier faults do not get attended to, in an adequate manner.
Isn`t it a clear case of non-performance of one`s duties by some of the concerned officials whose allotted areas, remain ill- maintained?
There could be many other reasons, beyond the control of these officials, too .
Lack of motivation or not enough encouragement/guidance by the seniors, deficits in regular skill upgradation of the civic employees, corrupt practices in certain quarters, non-accountabilty, nepotism are some of the many reasons for the civic neglect. As per my experience with the local government, most of the employees & contractors can perform well & deliver quality work, if given the right conditions/support?!
The government officials are also mandated to efficiently & effectively perform their duties.Otherwise the recalcitrant officials are to be dealt as per the laid down conduct/performance rules of the Govt of India/MCD Acts.
The elected representatives of the area being the representatives of the public need to regularly organize conversations/meetings of the officials with the members of RWAs, Traders Welfare Association, civil-society groups, schools principals, leaders of religious groups, so that there is active community participation & supplementing help to the officials in the area of garbage management, maintainenace of parks /green spaces,water bodies,drains etc etc.
MLA/MP`s allocated funds can/need to be spent judiciously. But, it will,to my mind ,can only be done efficiently, if corporators, MLA`s & MPs undergo regular training programmes in the areas of budget formation, road/drains/sewers, water distribution network,design, construction & maintenance, etc, to name a few areas.
Role of values & ethics in development & governance is very important. It is my view, that those elected representatives who spend their energies & efforts, in meeting the members of the public, listening to their grievances & helping & solving these , have & retain image of honesty & integrity, judiciously spend the allocated funds, become popular in their constituencies & they do not have to use money or muscle power ,to get them re-elected.
It is also not understandable that why, of late, in Dwarka & all over Delhi the public is constrained to see huge bill- boards being put up[at whose cost & under what rules] at various locations, announcing the birthdays of the local elected representatives??!!
I, personally feel, it does not make them popular in the eyes of the public.