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Development sham ahead of Delhi Assembly polls

Updated: Mar 29, 2013, 16:22 PM IST

The Delhi Legislative Assembly Elections are around the corner and I am already witnessing mindless activity all around, especially by those in power.

Politicians consider ‘few months before the elections’ as the best time to aim for votes, and try to lure the electorate with doles and development. However, most of this development is superficial and stands the test only till the elections are over.

Staying in an “average” colony of the national capital (Uttam Nagar), I am witnessing “all-round” and “inclusive” development.

“All-round” because all the roads have been dug up – some to re-lay water pipelines, some for road repair works and some to widen the drainage system etc. And, not to forget, re-laying the entire drainage system just for the sake of it.

Some would ask what is the harm in undertaking all these activities, especially when most of the MLA funds remain unutilised?

My retort is: Does all this new infrastructure has the requisite capability to stand even for a calendar year? No, because most of this is just an eyewash and an attempt to make a quick buck by all those who fall in this chain of first releasing the money for public welfare and then siphoning off the same in the name of public welfare. This makes it “inclusive" development, for one and all.

Roads re-laid are either of inferior quality or at the most, of average grade, so that a fresh tender could be floated within a span of one to two years.

And waterlines are most of the times repaired or re-laid in a manner that water would fail to, like before, reach the parched areas of the locality. And even if it manages to, the supply would not be frequent and of quality that’s not drinkable.

It is not that the money is lacking to do a “durable” job. It’s the lack of integrity on the part of politicians and officials that such infrastructure development is of poor standard and just a means to make a quick buck for everyone involved in the process.

In most of the projects taken up inside colonies, there is a lack of supervision. For example, in a project to re-lay water pipelines, the labourer isn’t an expert to fix it, and the so-called supervisor isn’t mostly available to do a quality check. The end result – a botched up project that would serve no purpose and would, in fact, leave behind a sizeable dug-up area without proper re-filling and road repair.

This is the same case with other projects – be it the repair work of the drainage system or the roads. I have rarely seen roads with proper alignment or drainage system with enough inlets for rain water.

This brings to my mind only one question: Why can’t our politicians be honest to themselves and use the public exchequer money at the right time and in the right manner?

Are they not aware the Indian electorate is no more an “illiterate voter” and is aware of his rights and duties? He knows what the politicians are trying to do by taking up last-minute development work and finish the unfinished agenda?

It’s probably time for politicians to shift their focus on something more meaningful and better understand the new-age Indian voter.