Kejriwal Sarkar spells doom for Delhi
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.
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
Itni mehangai hai ki bazar se
kuchh lata hun
Apne bachchon mein baant ke
Apni neendon ka lahu ponchhne ki
Jagte jagte thak ke so jata hun Koi chadar samajh ke na khinch le
phir se ‘Khalil’
Main kafan odh ke footpath pe so
(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.