By Charu Sharma:
There’s a famous couplet by Kabir in Hindi, “Kal Kare So Aaj Kar, Aaj Kare So Ab, Pal Mein Pralaya Hoyegi, Bahuri Karoge Kab”. I have always thought about these lines while walking on the damaged roads in Delhi due to construction work which has been under progress for ages. Why is it that Delhi roads are under construction all the time? It is quite debatable that Delhi being a capital hasn’t achieved the tag of being one of the greenest cities. The scenario is changing on a large scale due to the commercialisation of land, unfinished work in progress and unplanned digging of the district areas. I think — construction for a purpose is a different matter, but the delayed WIP (work in progress) is nothing but a sign of corruption.
In 2010 with the Commonwealth Games being the most high scale project in Delhi aimed to transform the city and give it a globalised look. It however resulted in the destruction of most of the green land. They had a vision but was the planning an inclusive call? The transformation is essential for the progressive outlook of city. The doubtful questions arise when the work in progress due to various reasons is left undone — it can be covering of sewers, road-reconstruction or water piping for district areas etc. And it indeed has been causing severe discomfort to pedestrians. Residential Welfare Societies in residential areas of Delhi work on the great policy of hopeful promises for people to have a clean, healthy and secure society to live in. Years go by with policies and weak plans and after every election the WIP never finishes. The roads are either badly constructed or they are under construction process most of the time. Delhi’s citizens are facing unfathomable problems as a result of the construction work going on all over in Delhi, especially the metro rail projects involving flyovers. Due to these construction works, there have been many news stories that speak about a lot of people dying as a result of the breakage of some part of an over bridge, etc.
In such a scenario, asking for clean and constructed roads is like a dream for the common man. Is it too much to ask? It is important to look after the measures to be taken to redress the problems of unwanted WIP in Delhi. The city’s leading academics, urban planners, environmentalists and activists, debate the nature of solutions to be taken for the betterment of the city and citizens. It calls for the solutions based on the rational planning and stringent deadlines for the completion of all the projects. Individuals should have a source for registering their complaints against the discomfort caused on roads; these complaints would help the city planners keep a track of construction projects left undone on roads which has made life miserable for citizens. The government plays a very important role in making the system more developed and promising in nature, in a genuine sense. The authorities should for once keep their vested interests aside and work like honest contributors towards their own city.
It is true that with the increasing number of cars, pedestrians, local transport and city development plans, living in Delhi has become an act of survival. Delhi has a history, unlike the city like Mumbai, yet it has no memory. As the capital of India, Delhi is embedded with numerous problems. Construction of roads left undone due to various hidden reasons and malfunctioning in the system is a matter of major concern not only for the future development of city in terms of infrastructure but also for the internal satisfaction of the citizens.