Sunday, April 10, 2011

Visit to Meerut and Agra : An eye opener to a corrupt environment

I have made many visits to this area but one such visit to Meerut and Agra made me realize the brutal reality of corruption that exists in India. Both these towns are next door to New Delhi and are backed up with bountiful agriculture, numerous medium and small Industries. Both cities have an access to tourism revenue. One with Taj Mahal and other with the proximity to Haridwar and Rishikesh.

There is a stretch of road after Hapur town built on toll basis. However, I was in for rude shock when my car driver paid Rs 10 as cash to the man managing the extreme gate instead of paying the official fee of Rs 15. His argument was 'it saves time standing the queue plus saves the money '. 'Does he take all the money he collects?’ I questioned. 'No way, this loot goes to all the way to his boss and shared across the organization '. 'But how would Ms. Mayawati - UP CM get the revenue? My naïve question must have surprised my driver. 'Are Bhaisaab. The person has already paid the money in order to get the posting! '. I was speechless.

The argument of ' India to be developed country by 2020, sounded as hollow as the slogan of 'Garibi Hatao' in 1971. Loni is another next-door town to New Delhi. Just go past the Vazirabad and you enter brick laid housing complex. This housing complex was built on agricultural land. Someone bought this land, made plots and sold it to individual owners who by their own imagination built the houses. So far so good, but this entrepreneur either did not bother to liaise with Govt. Agencies or he did not find it important enough to have road, water and electricity. Result is – natural roads that are hardened by wet rains and sunshine, no water pipe line. Electricity poles did arrive after few years but there is no meter installed at any house. BSES - private electric supply company just collect flat monthly rate from every house irrespective of their consumption. ‘Wow!! That means I can put all ac in every room’. The house owner just chuckled on this stupid question emanating from my imbecile mind.

I quickly framed another question ' but there must be power cut like in Delhi, How often the power trip?’

He again smiled ' Bhai Saab, that's difficult question, it would be easier to answer how often power comes? We would be lucky if it comes at all, but whenever it comes, our battery of inverter swing into action. We must conserve every minute of electricity. Air conditioner is out of question, fan in one room is luxury. Forget about power guzzlers like washing machine, fridge, microwave and TV’.

His statement made sense when I looked at all these modern gadgets neatly covered in embroidered clothes. They look spanking clean and new.

‘Our first priority is pump that sucks water from our bore well. Once, we fill up the overhead tank, our mission is accomplished ' He explained and I readily agreed. Ice cubes, satellite TV channels, laptop made no sense in Loni.

If this is the plight of next-door township to Delhi, what could be the situation in the interior towns of UP?

After paying bribe to the toll gate collector, my Tavera cruised on smooth tar road heading towards Meerut. Sudden screeching of brakes made my briefcase jump from the seat. Just in nick of time, motorcyclist had managed to swerve away avoiding an ugly collision. Single lane traffic with loaded trucks meant my car driver would overtake trucks and back in his lane well before the incoming vehicle would bang. My thought went back to that motor cyclist who narrowly missed a hit from our car.

‘What if he were to fall? We would have had to wait for police to arrive’?

‘ Hey No, nobody stops when hit by car. Fault is always with the big vehicle. We need not take him to hospital. Chances of survival of him are slim anyway.

I was aghast. Next day, while coming back from Agra, I saw a man lying around at roadside surrounded by some villagers. The car must have gone ahead hitting him.

In two day of travel to Meerut and Agra, I realized distance that between life and death could barely be few meters. Visiting Meerut, Agra and Loni was like drenching every part of my body and soul by corrupt environment. I kept asking the question. Would nuclear reactors solve power problems UP and Bihar? Or would it go the same way as Hapur – Meerut toll free road?



Blogger Sachin said...

Dear Mr.Pappu,
Corruption is something which we have created.
But as we are having double standards in our life when we do it for our convenience and benefit we keep our mouth shut and when other person is benefited we starts criticizing.
Can you think of running any company without corruption.

10:19 PM  

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