Thursday, April 11, 2013

Is India Really Growing?

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“Have you visited Chennai recently and drank water from some local shops there?” This was the first question the doctor asked to my wife when she was taken to the hospital in Vellore when she had persistent fever last year. He was telling that if she did she has a good chance of getting typhoid fever.
Another one – my wife and I had to visit one of my friend who owns a house somewhere close to a place called Thoraipakkam in Chennai. We were not sure of the way and so we stopped somewhere close by and asked one of the by-stander the way. This was his reply – “go straight; you will see a mountain of trash. From there travel another 500 meters and you will see another mountain of trash that is much bigger in size than the first one. Immediately after crossing that mountain of trash there will be a small road to your left. Turn to that road and go straight and you will reach the venue.”
We followed the instructions and we reached the flat where my friend was living. It was something like an eight storey building where my friend was living in the sixth floor. This flat was encircled by two other flats on the north and west side and marshy area full of trash on south and east. The interior of the house was very beautiful. Just as we sat my friend told us “be careful of mosquitoes. We have mosquito repellents in all rooms but still there will are many. Looks like mosquitoes have become immune to these repellents.” My friend was correct. Every one minute I was bitten by at least one mosquito.
Anyone who is living in India can identify easily with what I have written above. It must have happen to all of us multiple times.
In India we talk about development all the time. We proudly claims that number of tall buildings, real estate boom, huge increase exports in IT sector, arrival of multinational companies, malls etc as the symbol of development. But is it really development? Is it the real growth?
Isn’t the basic facilities like pure drinking water and clean environment that need to be fully developed first before all these so called “symbols of development” are built or created?
I am not comparing but I must say this – during my 10 years stay in US, I only drank tap water supplied by City and never fell sick. I never remember a day when I was bitten by a mosquito. From 2006 to 2010 I was working as Design Engineer where my job was to design water and wastewater treatment plants. That city already had water treatment and wastewater treatment plants that can serve population of 2025. What I was designing was for the population that is expected beyond that.
Do any of our state governments have such a plan? Do we as citizen is forcefully demanding such a plan from government? Why are the governments allowing “pseudo development” to take place ignoring the basic development of infrastructure that provides good and sustainable living conditions to their citizens? Why is government allowing new constructions to come-up in cities when they know that they don’t have enough clean water to serve the existing population of the city?
It is high time that we prioritize our infrastructure development and focus on improving the basic infrastructure like adequate water treatment plants, well connected drainage and sewer systems, efficiently working wastewater treatment plants. Unless this happens, the so called development happening around as is never going to be sustainable. Do you agree with me?
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2 Comments:

Blogger Amit said...

This all points to 1 problem. CORRUPT POLITICIANS and Govt. BABUS. Bribe and get a agricultural land to a NA Plot. In Pune as even the river banks are not spared..!! Constructions is done such that half of the building is in dry river. 8 months the river is dry, but during monsoons it gets flooded.. where will the water go? People first bribe and then they complain.

April 12, 2013 3:25 PM  
Blogger Deepak C U said...

It is high time we ask the question "What have I done to fix this mess" rather than point our fingers at the government for every problem that India faces. I invite you to take a look at Ugly Indian, a citizen's initiative to clean up and beautify public places in Bangalore - theuglyindian.com/ and the impact that they have had in transforming public attitude towards the garbage menace. May I ask you if in your capacity as a reputed environmental engineer and a person who worked in waste treatment, had any opportunity to transform the public places in and around your neighborhood ? Let me finish by quoting Gandhi's famous words "Be the change you wish to see in the world"..

April 16, 2013 5:46 AM  

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