One nice thing about travelling by trains in India is that you can get to know it from all sides. Mostly, it is said that one can get to know the rich and incredibly diverse nature of India. While I don’t entirely deny it, for me train journeys give you a first-hand account of the real plight of our country, the problems it faces, etc.
I had a little experience that I’d like to share.
Last week I had to go to Palakkad from Trivandrum (my home town). After completing my intended purpose there, I was waiting at the Palakkad railway station to board my train back home, when a malfunctioning drinking water tap caught my eye. Seeing the wastage, I immediately tried to fix it, but to no avail. Upon enquiring a nearby shopkeeper, I was shocked to hear that the wastage of precious drinking water was going on for the past 15 days. Before I knew, I was heading to the station master’s office. Upon apprising him about the situation, I could see that he was completely unaware of it despite the leak being hardly 50m from his office. He quickly swung into action by calling a few technicians. To be sure that the leak was taken care of, I even tweeted to Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu and the Palakkad DMO regarding the situation. Thanks to social media, they promised me swift action.
Who was at fault here? If you ask me, it’s not completely the station master’s fault. Any service or system works effectively when both the provider (government) and the user/receiver (aam aadmi) start acting responsibly. I was not the first one to see that the ‘leak’ nor will be the last one; more than thousands commute there daily. The truth is nobody cares!
The 2011 census estimates that 138 million rural households or about 685 – 690 million people lack access to safe drinking water. Keep the ‘moral’ side apart for the moment, let’s talk economics. Think about whose money is really being squandered when we show such a careless attitude. Our taxes are at play! We own the government! Wake up.