1. Dhanya, a 14 year old village girl, died on the way to the hospital. The valiant villagers who had saved her from drowning in the raging Cauvery waters, couldn’t reach the nearest hospital just 2.5 kms away in-time to save the breathless Dhanya, only due to bad roads. The Sunday ToI (Bangalore Edition) on 28th June 2009, reported the sad news on the front page – as this also highlights the sad state of roads, especially in rural India.
- Who’s accountable for the loss of Dhanya’s life?
- Can Dhanya’s family sue the PWD (Public Works Department) for the horrible roads, which were the prime reason for their girl’s death? It might be tough to prove the allegations in court (the way our legal system is) – but its become utmost necessary to atleast cause a ripple in the hopelessly lax government departments.
- Couldn’t there be some action taken against the authorities responsible to provide the basic “bijli, sadak aur paani” (electricity, roads & water) to the villagers?
2. I had an accident on the 03rd of Mar 2009 at around 22:00 hours, when I was driving my bike back from work. I broke a couple of ribs (minor cracks/fracture, unsure if they can be called “hairline fractures“) when I fell down – as my Bullet, cruising at less than 30 kmph, did not make it out of a deep ditch on Adugodi Road, here in central Bangalore. The front wheel got stuck in the deep crater on the busy road and turned itself to my left, while I was thrown off the bike to my right. I was lucky that the traffic behind me didn’t run over me – it was slow too – and even that the 200 kg bike didn’t crush my right leg!
- Can I sue the BBMP (Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagar Palike), which is responsible for the state of the roads in Bangalore, and claim damages for my long suffering & excruciating pain? The ribs took a lot of care, a full two months to recover and caused a lot of stress & worry to my family too.
- Is it too much if I expect basic needs to be met, like good quality ditch-less roads in the IT capital of India? Why is the Indian citizen given step-motherly treatment for basic infrastructure – “bijli, sadak, paani”?
Yes, instead of cribbing here, indeed I can file a court case, and even can Dhanya’s family. But we won’t get into it. By not doing so, we save ourselves from a few years of court hearings, fat fees to the lawyers and some mental & physical harassment worrying about the uncertainty of the outcome of the case.
There certainly is a problem with the terribly slow delivery of justice. The typical citizen avoids appealing for justice; and in turn supports the government departments & their employees in their fearless & careless corrupt growth towards “invincibility”. No accountability has induced a “who cares” attitude in them. For them, the death of a citizen is limited to an entry in the dead persons’ register, that too only with a valid death certificate. Period.
“Accepted Injustice” (is what I term this condition): We’ve accepted to live with injustice. 🙁
How can the heavily corrupt and nonchalant government departments be sanitized? How can we sensitize the government employees towards citizen’s issues? Suggesting some action items:
- Implement serious accountability – linked to the salaries of *every* government employee. Parameters for the accountability need to be well-defined and strictly applied.
- Conduct regular, as well as surprise audits of each and every department to verify that the accountability is in force. The procedure of the audits can be standardized, so the audits can also be conducted by normal citizens – like you and me. The results of the audits can be one of the parameters for the accountability.
- The state Lok Ayukta departments (anti-corruption cells) need to be given more teeth. Any government servant implicated by the Lok Ayukta, should be immediately fired. He/She can never apply for, or join any other government department, ever.
- A stronger RTI act and vigilant proactive citizens needed too.
- Courts to have a single hearing & immediate judgement (fines) for cases against government departments. The fines ordered in the judgement should be deducted from the salaries of every employee in the convicted department.
We never know if these will *EVER* get implemented in India, and we are too small to make these changes happen, or influence them to happen. We sure can hope, though.
“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” – Oscar Wilde
So, do post your thoughts as comments here, and I will add the valuable thoughts to the list above – with due credit. 🙂