Dear Ms. Dixit
Good Evening to you!
I have a bad back ache and am tired of an extremely long and draining day yesterday. And that is why I write to you.
I wonder if you were in Delhi on 20th July 2013. If you were, I wonder if you stepped out of your residence and tried to enjoy a ‘drive in the rains’. If you did, I have some questions for you. If you didn’t, I insist that the next time you’re in Delhi and it is raining, please get out and enjoy the drive on the wide roads of Delhi. I was here yesterday and I was driving.
It is said that to drive in the rains, with the splatter against your windscreen and the splashes under your wheels, is quite an experience. An experience it was; only thing is, that it was not the romantic kinds as I was told it would be … it was traumatizing, horrifying and quite disconcerting. You and the previous leaders that Delhi has had, I presume, have always employed the best civil engineers and other specialists to build the infrastructure of this city. The Delhi Metro, the wide roads, the greenery all around etc. etc. are all indicators to that fact. I could go on and on about what is good about Delhi’s infrastructure (relatively?!) but that is not why I request your attention. I want to point at this very small fact that was possibly ignored by you and the people employed by you.
Just for the record, it takes about 35 to 40 minutes to drive from Central Secretariat to Dilshad Garden under usual traffic conditions on a usual day. It took me 215 minutes. That is almost 6 man-hours wasted (there were 2 people in the car). Not because of the rains, no … rains are good; no rain would mean no water from Delhi Jal Board and possibly no electricity from the BSES either. It was not the traffic either; on a Saturday evening, the traffic is usually sane and manageable and one cannot complain about 5000 other cars when I myself am out trying to do some chores. It was the amount of water on the roads… bad drainage, water-clogging, and the works! Am sure you must have read about it in the papers, I hope you have. So, when I say that there is water clogging in Lucknow and Kanpur and Bhopal, I tend to rubbish it by saying that they are not Tier-A cities, they do not deserve good infrastructure and I ask people to stop complaining. When people from Chennai and Kolkata squirm under the effects of bad roads and traffic management, I say, Mumbai is the Financial Capital and Delhi is the Political Centre of India and that Chennai and Kolkata need to do more to deserve some attention from the Governments, Centre and State. When Mumbaikars complain about rains and the aftermath, I say, never mind … your roads are not wide enough and there aren’t enough roads in the first place. So one would imagine that Delhi is the place to be eh?! Umm, there are parts of Delhi that are not Delhi and would possibly never be… and if they do not get good roads and other shit, so be it, really! But India Gate and the surrounding area? That is what Delhi is to most people who do not know Delhi. And even if those places are not taken care of, I wonder what’s all the fuss and façade about vision of Delhi 2020 blah blah. In my opinion, a good road with bad drainage is like good clothes without underwear … if you know what I mean.
What I do not understand, Ma’m, is how did this very important aspect of infrastructure miss everyone’s attention? Well it did, and I get that human errors happen often. But how is it that you and your ecosystem of politicians, bureaucrats and public administration sit on this issue, year after year, months after months, day after day and rains after rains and do nothing about it. Or are you telling me that you have done everything in your power to fix it, and that there is not a single engineer in India or otherwise who can fix the drainage problem? The number of man-hours spent on the road, the amount of fuel burnt and toxins emitted, the mental misery it caused is all something you would have taken notice of. But that does not suffice. Someone needs to act on it. And I am guessing that someone is you, you who have probably never taken your car out to enjoy a drive in the rains. Please do. And you will know what I am saying.
India wants to host the Olympics in 2020 I hear; all the best with that!
With much regards
(A worn-out citizen)
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