Ke­jri­wal Sarkar spells doom for Delhi

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Delhi is nowa­days iden­ti­fied with roads lit­tered with filth, sick Mo­halla Clin­ics and a silent Ke­jri­wal. His antagonist Kapil Mishra is mak­ing fa­natic search for the chief min­is­ter and says Arvind Ke­jri­wal has gone miss­ing. And a troll is mak­ing rounds on so­cial media that chief min­is­ter drank Fe­vi­col mis­tak­ing it for milk, hence his tongue got stuck.

The most dis­turb­ing fact is that things are go­ing worse from bad in Delhi. A lit­tle rain and garbage dumped

on roads cre­ate havoc of traf­fic jams and ev­ery other day a man­ual worker loses his life while clean­ing sewer lines in Delhi.

But chief min­is­ter is pat­ting his back that pace of devel­op­ment has gained mo­men­tum ever since he came to power in Delhi. But is Delhi re­ally de­vel­op­ing? Or things have only worsen dur­ing the past two-and-a-half years of his rule? We made rounds to var­i­ous lo­cal­i­ties to make an in­de­pen­dent assess­ment and talked to pub­lic, Delhi gov­ern­ment min­is­ters and Op­po­si­tion lead­ers to get a bet­ter pic­ture.

Mo­halla Clin­ics

Be­fore be­ing elected to power – that too with thump­ing ma­jor­ity -- the present chief min­is­ter had promised to open one thou­sand Mo­halla Clin­ics es- pe­cially to ben­e­fit to the toil­ing poor who have no where­withal to avail costly treat­ment in pri­vate hos­pi­tals and are not given proper treat­ment in gov­ern­ment hos­pi­tals.

Keep­ing his prom­ise, the AAP gov­ern­ment did open 105 Mo­halla Clin­ics – its tally now stands 110. But all these clin­ics bear scary look. There are no doc­tors or com­pounders in these clin­ics. Of course, you can see watch­man there; keep­ing guards of un­wor­thy things.

While swear­ing in to power, the Ke­jri­wal Gov­ern­ment had made a prom­ise to the elec­torates that by the end of 2016, one thou­sand Mo­halla Clin­ics would be opened. Then the time limit was ex­tended to March 2017, but the num­bers fell well short of the promised fig­ure and only 110 such clin­ics could be opened till now. (See list)

Dur­ing 2016-17, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Gov­ern­ment was al­lo­cated a bud­get of Rs.5,736 crore for health care. It was Rs.477 crore more than the 2015-16 bud­get of Rs.5,259. This higher amount was al­lo­cated in view of pro­vid­ing bet­ter health ser­vices to ci­ti­zens through Mo­halla Clin­ics. But still a lot of work needs to be done in this di­rec­tion.

Delhi’s chief min­is­ter re­gards Mo­halla Clin­ics as big achieve­ment of his party, Aam Aadmi Party. He puts en­tire blame on long tus­sle with Delhi’s

for­mer Lieu­tenant Gov­er­nor Na­jeeb Jung for not open­ing 1000 Mo­halla Clin­ics as per his prom­ise.

Arvind Ke­jri­wal says, “Mo­halla Clin­ics could not be opened in promised num­bers, just be­cause of po­lit­i­cal dif­fer­ences with the ex-LG and the Cen­tre.” But when asked why the ex­ist­ing 110 Mo­halla Clin­ics are in dire states, he keeps mum in re­ply. Why there are no doc­tors and nurses in these clin­ics and why their clean­li­ness is not taken care of? He again main­tains si­lence.

Deputy CM Manish Siso­dia, speak­ing on be­half of the gov­ern­ment, says, “Apart from that (Mo­halla Clin­ics), 23 poly­clin­ics with ser­vices of doc­tors from var­i­ous spe­cial­i­ties have gone func­tional. By the end of this year, there will be 150 mo­halla clin­ics and by the end of 2018, 150 poly­clin­ics will put in ser­vice.”

Both the chief min­is­ter and his deputy seem to mis­guide the pub­lic on this vi­tal is­sue. And the most re­spon­si­ble dig­ni­tary, who owes max­i­mum ac­count­abil­ity on this mat­ter, Delhi’s health min­is­ter Satyen­dra Jain does not even feel it nec­es­sary to re­ply mails or pro­vide any in­for­ma­tion over phone about the fate of his gov­ern­ment’s pet pro­ject. In all, Delhi gov­ern­ment seems to hide its fail­ure by mere elo­quence.

Sick child hospi­tal

Si­t­u­ated in trans-Ya­muna lo­cal­ity of Geeta Colony, Chacha Nehru Child Hospi­tal is a pe­di­atric su­per spe­cialty hospi­tal fur­nished with modern, sta­teof-the-art equip­ments. But there is grave short­age in the hospi­tal of child spe­cial­ists. Para med­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als are also un­der-staffed. This is a 15-bed hospi­tal.

But for the lack of doc­tors and short­age of space, ev­ery day a num­ber of pa­tients have to be re­ferred to other hos­pi­tals. Hospi­tal of­fi­cials say that they have to ac­com­mo­date such pa­tients in gen­eral wards, who fail to get beds in other hos­pi­tals.

Thus, on both fronts, Mo­halla Clin­ics and child hospi­tal, the bit­ter truth of the Ke­jri­wal Gov­ern­ment is ex­posed.

Sick Mo­halla Clin­ics

Mo­halla Clinic of Sangam Vi­har, is ill it­self. You de­cide if any­one could get proper treat­ment at such a clinic which is it­self so dis­gust­ingly ill.

Mo­halla Clinic in Saket appears neat and clean. But there is no doc­tor or nurse here. Yes, you can meet the watch­man here, who is vis­i­ble in the pic­ture.

Mehrauli Mo­halla Clinic also bears

a de­serted look and seems to have be­come a rest­ing place for the stray dogs. No doc­tor and no nurse here.

There are many more such pic­tures that speak vol­umes about the dire con­di­tion of Mo­halla Clin­ics, which Delhi gov­ern­ment is pam­per­ing to boost its image.

Closed shops, no ra­tion, only cards

Ab main ra­tion ki qataron mein

nazar ata hun,

Apne kheton se bich­hadane ki saja

pata hun

Itni mehangai hai ki bazar se

kuchh lata hun

Apne bach­chon mein baant ke

shar­mata hun.

Apni neen­don ka lahu ponchhne ki

koshish mein

Jagte jagte thak ke so jata hun Koi chadar samajh ke na khinch le

phir se ‘Khalil’

Main kafan odh ke foot­path pe so

jata hun.

(Now, I am seen in ra­tion queues, pun­ished of be­ing sep­a­rated from my fields. In the time of such high dear­ness what­ever I fetch from the mar­ket I feel ashamed to share it with my chil­dren. Hav­ing tired of wip­ing away sleep, I fall asleep while still awake. And some­one should not with­draw it for a sheet; I cover my­self with shroud and sleep on the foot­path)

These cou­plets of poet Khalil de­scribe the cur­rent state of Delhi. On the one hand, Delhi presents a daz­zling show of high­rise build­ings and pricey au­to­mo­biles while on the other there are slum dwellings pass­ing through where you will in­stinc­tively cover your nose with hand­ker­chief. And there are no two or three but thou­sands of such dwellings are there in Delhi.

In each of such dwellings, long queues for ra­tion are daily sights. Things do not stop here. Ben­e­fi­cia­ries be­gin to throng ra­tion shops from 4 in the early morn­ing and more than of­ten they miss their num­ber de­spite long wait, be­cause ei­ther the stock is fin­ished or ra­tion is not pro­vided in ad­e­quate quan­tity as re­quired by a card­holder for his or her house­hold.

But the gov­ern­ment data tell an il­lu­sion­ary tale. On its e-food se­cu­rity web­site, Delhi gov­ern­ment claims that it has fed nu­mer­able fam­i­lies. See data. 1944874 Fam­i­lies Pro­vided Food Se­cu­rity

7272529 Mem­bers Pro­vided Food Se­cu­rity

2260 FPS to dis­trib­ute Food Grains.

9 Dis­trict Of­fices

70 Circle Of­fices to man­age ra­tion cards

8 PDS Godowns

297315 Qtls Wheat al­lo­cated for Au­gust 2017

77095 Qtls Rice al­lo­cated for Au­gust 2017

735 Qtls Sugar al­lo­cated for Au­gust 2017

But the fact is these data do not make up to even 10 per cent need of Delhi’s es­ti­mated 1.25 crore pop­u­la­tion. You can your­self spec­u­late how the re­main­ing one crore peo­ple would be toil­ing to win their daily bread. But this fact is not vis­i­ble – in media or else­where – as much as the lus­trous Delhi Metro or the daz­zling Con­naught Place, where one can buy a burger in Rs.30.

The peo­ple of Delhi were ex­pect­ing the Aam Aadmi Party that it would ful­fil their need of daily grains through its much hyped ra­tion shops. Has AAP come up to their ex­pec­ta­tions?

Shakun­tala Devi is a widow and lives in Tugh­laqabad vil­lage with her chil­dren. She is en­ti­tled to get ra­tion twice a month. For a fam­ily of four, she must get 10 kg wheat, 4 kg sugar and 10 kg rice. But she gets ra­tion only once in a month, that too half of the man­dated quan­tity.

Shakun­tala Devi re­lates that ra­tion sup­ply does not ar­rive at the shop on time. And even if it ar­rives, there is so much crowd that half of her day is wasted in wait and by the time her turn comes, she gets only half of the re­quired amount due to short­age in stock.

This is only side of the coin. To find the big­ger pic­ture, let us go that area which has come to be des­ig­nated as Asia’s largest slum colony and about which it is said that it com­prises the great­est vote bank of Outer Delhi.

Yes, you guessed it right. It is Sangam Vi­har with about 8 to 10 lakh vot­ers. There are about 2 lakh ra­tion card­hold­ers but the fig­ure of ra­tion shops has not crossed even one hun­dred mark. It is easy to guess how these ra­tion card­hold­ers would be jostling to get their share in the pie.

While try­ing to un­earth the truth, we in­spected a ra­tion shop in Sangam Vi­har, where there was long queue out­side. When we talked to the cus­tomers they bursted their anger, first on the shop­keeper and then on the ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Says Ram As­rey, “I have been stand­ing in the queue from 8 in the morn­ing with hope that I will get the

ra­tion. I have been com­ing here for the past three days. Today, I hope to get ra­tion, but the shop­keeper says that there is only wheat in the stock; no sugar and no rice. It means I will have to ab­sent from my job and waste two or three days more for sugar and rice.

All oth­ers present at the ra­tion shop re­lated the same tale of woe.

Un­end­ing wait for bus

DTC (Delhi Trans­port Cor­po­ra­tion) buses are lifeline of Delhi. The Ke­jri­wal Gov­ern­ment had pro­posed to in­tro­duce 2000 new DTC buses, which was ap­proved also. Al­ready, there are 5000 buses in DTC fleet that ply on roads. Be­sides, there are Delhi Metro, au­torick­shaws and now bat­tery rick­shaws also. Next to Metro, DTC buses are the most pre­ferred mode of com­mut­ing for Delhi’s peo­ple.

De­spite this, con­di­tion of Delhi’s buses has de­te­ri­o­rated dur­ing the last three years. Low floor buses were launched by the pre­vi­ous Sheila Dik­shit Gov­ern­ment. These buses are also in very bad con­di­tion. Delhi’s trans­port min­is­ter Gopal Ray says that very soon ev­ery cor­ner of Delhi will be pro­vided bus con­nec­tiv­ity and 10 thou­sand new driv­ers will be re­cruited to op­er­ate these buses.

Tug of war be­tween CM and MCDs

Tug of war be­tween all the three mu­nic­i­pal cor­po­ra­tions and Delhi’s chief min­is­ter is not a new phe­nom­e­non. These MCDs are un­der BJP and hence it is no sur­prise that quite of­ten these civic bod­ies lock horns with the chief min­is­ter and the suf­ferer is the pub­lic, which has to bear the brunt.

MCDs owe the re­spon­si­bil­ity of sweep­ing and keep­ing the roads clean and their bud­get is al­lo­cated by Delhi gov­ern­ment. Quite of­ten, they lock horns with Delhi gov­ern­ment over is­sues of clean­ing staff’s salary and clean­ing equip­ments with both sides blam­ing each other for cor­rup­tion and in­ef­fi­ciency. As a re­sult, ev­ery now and then the sweep­ing staff calls strike leav­ing the pub­lic suf­fer due to over­flow­ing dump­ing points and garbage lit­tered up to their doors.

Even mu­nic­i­pal coun­cil­lors of BJP are out of con­trol of chief min­is­ter. They do come up for reg­u­lar meet­ings with the lat­ter but only for the name­sake. This is an­other po­lit­i­cal tus­sle go­ing on since long in Delhi.

Delhi is the third largest metro city of In­dia. Be­ing the cap­i­tal of In­dia, it at­tracts peo­ple from all cor­ners of the coun­try as it pro­vides bet­ter job op­por­tu­ni­ties, bet­ter liv­ing con­di­tions and bet­ter busi­ness prospects. Though cer­tain ar­eas in ad­join­ing states, des­ig­nated as Na­tional Cap­i­tal Re­gion or NCR, are be­ing de­vel­oped to ac­com­mo­date con­tin­u­ous in­flux of peo­ple, pop­u­la­tion is Delhi’s core area is burst­ing at the seam. With lim­ited land and other nat­u­ral re­sources like wa­ter, food and power, it is be­com­ing dif­fi­cult day by day for Delhi to cope up with this pres­sure.

Delhi presents a glimpse of the fu­ture ur­ban­i­sa­tion and its chal­lenges. Though it has an elected gov­ern­ment, it is gov­erned by three dis­tinct bod­ies, which of­ten have clashes of in­ter­ests. All this has put planned devel­op­ment of Delhi in may­hem. Peo­ple in VIP ar­eas of Delhi en­joy world class life while those in un­planned and unau­tho­rised clus­ters and slums are com­pelled to live in hell-like con­di­tions.

Politi­cians, ir­re­spec­tive of which po­lit­i­cal party they be­long to, will have to bury their dif­fer­ences and make sac­ri­fices of their vested in­ter­ests if they want to make Delhi a glo­ri­ous ex­am­ple of ur­ban­i­sa­tion. Oth­er­wise, fu­ture of Delhi as well as of ur­ban­i­sa­tion seems bleak.

A doc­tor treat­ing pa­tients in a Mo­halla Clinic.

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