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Never lose heart even if only a few of our efforts to set things straight, succeed. Keep the vigil
Posted On Thursday, July 01, 2010 at 11:05:13 PM
One is about the city seeing enough rainfall, but dams are still empty. (By mid-June, Pune had received its average rainfall for the month.) And only a minuscule number in the city give a damn about rainwater harvesting. (Out of the 6.40 lakh housing units here, only 479 harvest rainwater.)
This means, when we are singularly dependent on the dams for our water supply, we don’t want to collect and use the rainfall over the city. Not just that, we leave most of the dam water used by the city into the rivers, untreated.
PMC has spent Rs 42 crore on cleaning rivers. Then a minister from Delhi looked at the river in Pune and said it was like a sewage gutter.
Another report said engineers from the irrigation department were doctoring the floodline of river. So many things are happening in the city at so many levels, and each in a way negating the promise of a great city, which is evident in the hoardings of real estate projects.
Some of them would be in between the erstwhile river and its imaginary floodlines. A retired navy man of great imagination thinks of creating a Florence canal system on Mula and Mutha.
The apparent terrorist who was first caught on camera and then nabbed by the police for allegedly blowing up German Bakery was let off on bail. “Investigations are still on” — the sleuths will promptly tell you, even after several months.
They are not allowed to say a word more. Earlier, the very alert cops were seen shooting young couples in parks, not just to have clinching evidence of their public misdemeanours but also to show the camera recordings to their parents.
Meanwhile, the inspector without a thana and staff in Koregaon Park, (where German Bakery is), is still looking for a suitable property to set up a functional work place. One hundred thirty police officers, out of a total of 160, were found to be medically unfit.
Another time, one of the state ministers from the city was denied his passport due to pending criminal cases. There were more politicians with criminal record, though, who want the police to perform and brand it ineffective.
In Pimpri-Chinchwad some 224 criminals who were externed returned, thanks to the politicians keeping public interest foremost in mind! Three of them raped a woman in an Indica, while moving around in the city for hours.
However, Pune is still fashioned as one of the most women-friendly cities in India.
When we are about to complete a year of the first incident of an H1N1 case in Pune, we are told very interesting things. One, the city is not prepared for another round of H1N1 attack.
The vaccine is here, but no one is using it. Then a government medical institute is saying the scare of H1N1 is being blown out of proportion by pharmaceutical companies.
The PMC didn’t use Rs 12.39 crore meant for improving the city’s greenery. It couldn’t plant enough trees. Ask any morning walker on the hills with water cans for plants — they will tell you saplings planted by people would have more chances of survival than the sarkari species.
If this is not surreal enough, the metro project is the icing on the cake. Most corporators had not read the report, not engaged with the larger civic debate and, while the time to vote came, almost half of them were not even there.
And they sanctioned some Rs 1,000 crore for the metro rail.
The good thing about talking it out and loud is, sometimes some impact comes your way. A few things improve slightly, as sometimes wisdom prevails. So there is the whole cosmetic surgery of the burns ward of a city hospital and some checking of the doctored floodline.
Not really enough to give you hope. But we need the aware citizen, a vigilant media and a good amount of activism for environment, transport, RTI etc, to let the netas and sahibs know that they are being watched and even if they may not feel answerable, it is important to raise the questions.
There will always be a tired cynical opinion that state — nothing will happen, nothing can. But we know, that is not true. Keeping at it is the only way out.
For optimism, dial a builder.
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