Insight Mahiprasad

Monday, September 21, 2009

Who Deserve the Lutyen's Delhi

The Lutyens Zone in Delhi is the most expensive site of not only the capital Delhi, but the whole of India. It is the graceful embodiment of British charm reflecting the Victorian style architectural grandeur with an ambience of openness. This part of New Delhi is comprised of beautiful spacious parks and palatial buildings which were once owned by the Indian princes and the British bigwigs. At present, it is the seat of government of India offices and the residential palaces of our political leaders.

After we achieved our independence and the British took voyage for their homeland, our leaders in power occupied the lutyens area of Delhi for their home and offices. From the most powerful leader Nehru to the lowly paid peons of government of India found places around this area. Though Nehru had his Teen Murti House for his residence, but the peons and daftaries of central government even got zafries all around lutyens. All other important politicians and bureaucrats sooner occupied the areas of Prithviraj Road, Aurangzeb Road, Duplex Road, Race Course Road, South Avenue, North Avenue, Kaka Nagar and many other exclusive rich lands of New Delhi. It was then realized that the politicians and the bureaucrats needed to work hard in building the nation and must stayed near their places of offices. Moreover, it would require enormous funds if new places were built in order to arrange housing for them.

After sixty years of independence, we now believe that the lutyen zone belongs to the government of India, its Ministers, Members of Parliament, Judges of Supreme Court and Delhi High Court, senior bureaucrats of Central and Delhi governments. Of late, in reply to an RTI plea, the government has conceded that around Rs.100 crore was spent during the last five years towards upgradation and maintenance of the bungalows occupied by the MPs and Ministers. This is a whopping amount spent on repairing jobs, whereas the furnished bungalow occupants only pay Rs.105 per month as licence fee, if they are the Ministers and MPs. Is it not cheating the exchequers?

At present, it is widely felt that the politicians of our country could not provide sufficient reasons to believe that they are the true leaders of the people. Rather, on face value, we may say that they are the representatives of the people. And therefore, they do not deserve the comforts that they have managed to annex for themselves. Sooner, a public opinion must be formed that the people's representatives must not live in the most comfort zone. We would really gain in the bargain if they shift their official home to places like Gurgaon, Gaziabad, Noida and other far off places. Thence, they would share our everyday agonies of transport, electricity, water, crime problems and might scream before the government now and then.

If that really happens in our time, then who would replace them in Lutyen's bungalows? Surely they, who are the most deserving people. The people on whose hard earned money our pretentious leaders do enjoy a luxurious life for years. A rule may be enacted that those who contribute most towards the government treasury would be eligible for a place in the Lutyen's Zone. In our country, we seldom esteem the Tax Payers.

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Cattle Class - A Piercing Truth

It hurts when a Minister in India ridicule shoddiness in any form, because the majority of people live here with the inferior quality of life. Our Minister of State, Shashi Tharoor has categorically commented that he would travel in cattle class out of solidarity with all the holy cows, when he was asked by the Minister of Finance to vacate the five star digs and travel by economy class.

Immediately after the advisory, the UPA chairperson, the Congress General Secreatary, most senior Ministers have obliged considering the bad phase evolving around the economy of India. Though it seems that these gestures do not meet the purpose, yet these have its effects. The Ministries do not follow the austerity measures in totality unless the bigwigs carry out something by example. Therefore, the travel of Mrs. Gandhi by economy class and Rahul Gandhi by chair car do convey good messages to the party as well as to the people.

However, the remarks made by Tharoor indicates that the quality of life in India is so poor that it's not always possible for people who are not used to it. How many of us are willing to travel by ordinary second class while traveling a night journey? How many of us dare visit a general hospital in case of emergency? Given a chance, do we not prefer to travel by business class in air? But when a Minister says, we look at them with contempts, why? Is he not voicing a poignant truth that our general quality of life is so miserable that everyone wants to better his standard to leave the general life as early as possible?

The real issue remains that the quality of general life must improve in India. The hospitals, the railways, the post offices, the roads, the other transports everything look so awful that people are scared to utilize them. Tharoor's comments may not be sounding nice, but the issues he has raised must be looked into. Most of our dubious politicians may not dare to remark such comments as they always have their one eye on the voters, but the comments of Tharoor has indeed raised the shackles. How long are we to suffer like cattles?

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