The Background (Kahaani ke Peeche ki Soch):
I remember watching an episode of Satyamev Jayate where they focused on the conditions in which the police force works in our country. I can vividly recall a police wallah speaking about how common it was for electricity board to disconnect the police station’s power supply for ‘no bill payment’ and how they used their ‘contacts’ to buy fuel for their official vehicles as insufficient funds were given to them for the same vis-à-vis the requirements.
It was an eye opener of sorts for sleepy heads like me who had tuned in to the ‘early’ morning popular program to catch their favorite superstar Aamir Khan talk about important issues. That episode indeed created a good amount of public exposure which should have ideally brought in a lot of police reforms. I hope that actually happened.
Now, of course, ChangeBhai doesn’t deal with law and order issues and hence this point doesn’t really apply to us directly. But, since, most of the issues that we handle and receive on ChangeBhai pertain to Municipal Authorities, we wanted to take your views on a similar topic.
The Context (Andar ki Baat):
In our endeavour to remain connected to the ground realities, we regularly speak to random people on the streets about the civic issues that they face on a daily basis and how effective their local management is. We had covered multiple cities before this and were pretty used to hearing negative things until we reached the Vashi – Belapur area in Navi Mumbai last week. We caught hold of people on the streets from different strata of society i.e the kaamwaali bais, autowallahs, students, housewives, office waalas and even beggars (who mostly didn’t give a damn to what we were talking about). Spoke to more than 100 odd people over the last 2 days in this belt alone.
Now, everybody (include those beggars too :-O) had only nice things to say about their area. This took us by surprise and we tried being specific with them by asking
‘kya baat kar rahe ho? koi bhi problem nahi hai idhar..kachra?..bad roads…??’
and they were like
‘nahi..woh sab Mumbai mein hai..idhar Navi Mumbai mein sab thik hai..thoda bahut toh chalta hai’.
They also mentioned that this has been a recent phenomena and their municipal corporation has really ‘pulled up their socks’.
We did not believe them entirely but of course we could get the feel that people here were generally happy with their municipal corporation’s performance.
While leaving, we took a photo of the spanking office building of New Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC). Here it is:
As I drove by, I, in my head, started comparing this structure to the other bigger municipal corporations I have been visiting for meetings. Crowded dirty places full of files. No electricity. Cranky people all around. Shabby toilets. Dark passages. Computers that looked like they were from ‘prehistoric times’. (and am referring to the municipal corporations of big cities and towns by the way).
The Points Raised (Aapke vichaar):
Now, do you think municipal employees need reforms that should improve the conditions in which they work? Will that indirectly work in increasing their efficiency and creating our cities liveable? Or this is not related?
I don’t really have the answers to these questions. Do you?