Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Some impressions

Recently, I visited Hyderabad, Chennai, Delhi and Mumbai. Chennai roads are not too bad but others and the amount of filth around them was depressing. The state of roads in Hyderabad is described by Vinod Ekbote here:"The round manhole covers, rising a minimum of one foot above the surface of the road do resemble tombs. When one spots another manhole, inches away but with the manhole cover at least six inches below the surface of the road then one wonders, just wonders, if the engineers are building them like they should be or like they want them to. It seems to be the prevailing trend in Hyderabad, to do things as one wishes, especially when it comes to driving, so it is no wonder that the engineers too are following the trend." And the repairs generally seem not really repairs but speed breakers. The impression is that there is probably a lot of looting by contractors colluding with government officials. Nothing moves unless somebody is bribed and even getting the requisite clearances after paying the dues apparently needs bribes unless one is well connected. There is a lot of disparity between private properies and public places with filth accumulating in public places. Some gated communities and central institutions seem to maintain facilities and physical standards compared to the best any where in the world, but just outside it often stinks. Now about Commonwealth games we have this news Bridge collapse adds to Commonwealth Games woe:
"Dismal preparations have, for many, underscored the out-of-touch, slow-paced leadership of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Congress government, raising questions how a graft-ridden, inefficient state can hope to compete with China.

The government's pro-poor voter image may suffer from tales of billions of wasted dollars. A perception of India's entrepreneurial prowess threatening Western jobs may slip if roofs leak and journalists wonder where the Wi-Fi is.

"Fingers crossed, India may pull off a miracle," said Boria Majumdar, a sports historian who has written the book 'Sellotape Legacy: Delhi and the Commonwealth Games'.

"But it will have to be a miracle. No doubt about that"."

My impressions are similar to those of Sagarika Ghose in No honest brokers, But Shekhar Singh says that it is an exaggeration. Rahul Banerjee after the despair of "Recovering the Lost Tongue" which ends with his experiences up to 2001 says that there is improvement since 2005 after RTI and various pro-poor legislations. M. Rajshekhar says that there is some encouraging news from Chattisgarh on rural health Chhattisgarh: How workers improved healthcare for 18 million people. I hope that they are correct.


Rahul Siddharthan said...

If you found Chennai's roads better than Delhi's, despite the heavy rains here and the upcoming CWG there, that speaks a lot for the CWG preparation...

On the other hand, if your Chennai trajectory was confined to airport -> IMSc -> CMI, that's not really representative of the city!

gaddeswarup said...

I also travelled from Central Station to IMSc by bus and then auto for a couple of kilometers. I shared some vadai I brought for the journey with somebody I met on the train and he said that he was going near IMSc and in fact bought the bus ticket for both of us. Long ago I had similar experience. One Kalyanasundaram took me to his home, gave me breakfast and then put me on the train to Loyola College. These sort of things one misses abroad but the trip on the whole was depressing.