Vijay K. Saluja
Director, Giraffe Heroes India Program
Whether some of the readers may agree or not agree with me, but my personal feeling & observation is that Dwarka in Delhi,-a well-planned sub-city, I chose to move in after my superannuation & which many others had carefully chosen to live in, 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 Dwarka residents, 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 story of civic apathy, neglect & sloth of Dwarka is also the story of almost all the colonies/roads/industrial/commercial areas of Delhi, Gurgaon, NOIDA, Faridabad, infact all cities of India ,with a little difference here & there!?? Huge garbage mismanagement, parking mess, accidents on roads on fast corridors & then in the cities at most of the places huge traffic jams are the orders of the day!!
WE ALL KEEP ON SUFFERING & WILL SUFFER MORE, IN THE DAYS TO COME ,IF NO POSITIVE STEPS ARE TAKEN.
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 any colony 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. There are vigilance departments in all organisations. 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 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-accountability, 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.State/Local Bodies 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 , need to have & retain image of honesty & integrity, judiciously spend the allocated funds, become popular in their constituencies & then, I personally feel, 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 all colonies the public is constrained to see huge bill- boards being put up[at whose cost & under what rules] at various locations, announcing the birthdays etc etc/`Shubh Kamnayeins etc of/to the local elected representatives??!!
I, personally feel, it does not make them popular, this way, in the eyes of the public.
Public Ab Sab Jaanti Hai!!
We all need to also send suggestions for improvement of our cities/neighbourhood to the website `mygovt` launched recently by PMO.
It is also felt that there are many many good persons in all walks of life-political, bureaucracy, corporates, judiciary, academics, media, social activists i/c RTI activists etc etc, who are selflessly doing public good at huge personal risks, at times. Their actions benefit, many, ironically including the ones, who do them wrong!!
The need is to identify them & commend their brave efforts as well, to motivate them in various ways.
Giraffe Heroes India Program, an offshoot of Giraffe Heroes Project www.giraffe.org, with which I am connected, is one such noble Program launched in 2012,in India-the sixth country in the world to have this Program. The aim & objectives of this Program is to commend GIRAFFE HEROES[persons who stick their necks out for public good,to make better society].Readers may like to visit the website to learn more details about this world-wide Program, criteria for nomination, commended Giraffe Heroes from all over the world etc etc.
I will also request the readers to actively associate themselves with Giraffe Heroes India Program.It can be done in many ways—
.By sending nominations of the prospective Giraffe Heroes to Dwarka Parichay our media –associate
.By creating awareness amongst their contacts about this noble program.
. By sending us their ideas/views about creating more awareness about this program, details of which are available as already mentioned at the website www.giraffe.org
.By making videos about the commended Giraffe Heroes-the role models of the society.
Their queries if any may be addressed to Dwarka Parichay
Profile of Mr. Vijay K. Saluja
· Director Giraffe Heroes India Program
· Senior Fellow Institute of Social Sciences-New Delhi www.issin.org
· Ex Chief Engineer[civil] New Delhi Municipal Council
· Ex President, IIT Delhi Alumni Association
· Red & White Bravery Awardee-2002
· Giraffe Hero-2004 www.giraffe.org
· Nominee-`Delhi Citizen One Award`, instituted by `India Today Group`
· Honoured by Technology Alumni Association of IIT Kharagpur[2012-2013]
· Idea Daredevil Awardee