The problem with senior government officials in powerful positions is that they rarely get to experience the problems of the common man and therefore the issues faced by the man on the road rarely touches them into action. Same is true for the political ruling class.
The politicians are happy to provide the odd scholarship or inaugurate the odd hand pump with much fanfare and media photo-ops but very rarely do you find them going amongst the people to understand the problems they face and then ensure that their problems get solved.
And once in a while when they do step out amongst the common man, it's usually nodding in agreement and sympathising with them and then they look over the shoulder to the accompanying official and issue immediate instructions for action and then they move on.
The people are happy that finally their problem will get solved and so they wait, and wait, and wait, until it's time for the next election and the politicians are back in action promising the same things all over again. Sounds dramatic? But all you need to verify this is to travel to any city, town or village during the monsoons and you will experience the real Haryana, the one that the common man knows.
Year after year, the same people keep raising the same problem and keep demanding that something should be done and they are always assured that action will be taken shortly. But the roads remain in the same waterlogged condition with dangerous pot holes present all over the place.
The Hooda administration has made people handling an art. You hear the people out patiently, you give people assurances and the people go back. The poor, naive people continue with this process over a couple of more visits, by then the monsoons have receded and so has the waterlogging. Therefore, there isn't much panic or priority to fix the waterlogging issue anymore. The plans to fix the sewage system and drainage system can wait till next year. And the pot holes? Well, the tender shall be issued shortly and the roads will be fixed. Same old promise!
The people go back hoping that in a month or two the roads will get fixed. But then nothing happens and its back to the government department and the same process gets repeated. We Indians don't get tired of the same routine year after year and when elections come, we once again get taken in by the sweet charm of promises and then once again vote for the same people.
Ask Mr Hooda, he has lived two terms on promises. The roads continue to remain water logged, the pot holes continue to remain, only this time they have become a bit bigger! Post elections, its back to business as usual.
Lack of planning and investment in infrastructure
Most towns and villages in Haryana are unplanned and have evolved and expanded with time in any direction that was possible. As a result, we have seen migration of people from villages to towns, from towns to cities, and in all locations there is a civic infrastructure that is obsolete and is unable to handle the sheer load of the population that is growing by the day.
The situation is very bad with all problems interconnected. At the residential area level, either there is no sewage system or if there is one then it is clogged, with very little or no maintenance. As a result, the sewage overflows onto the streets that give rise to all sorts of communicable and water borne diseases.
To compound the problem further, there is no proper drainage system for monsoon water to drain out. As a result, during monsoons the sewage and rainwater overflow as one and it's the people who have a miserable time trying to cope with and carry on their daily routine. Imagine the plight of little children who have to negotiate through this mess just to reach a bus stand or rickshaw point from where they get picked for school.
Imagine what it must be like for elder and ailing senior citizens who have to wade through the waterlogged and filthy streets, to try to reach a public health centre. What about an emergency situation where a pregnant woman has to be taken immediately for delivery? What do you think is her ordeal?
Think about the women who need to reach their place of work and in presentable condition otherwise they will lose a day's salary. It's a nightmare of a life for the common man just to keep sane through all of this. Just the previous night there was no power for five hours and therefore he/she could barely sleep in the heat, only to get up in the morning and try to live through yet another day.
No, this is not a what-if situation in a quiz show, this is the reality of a usual day in a common man's life in Haryana, during the monsoons. This is the same common man before whom the politicians went with folded hands and a smile on the face, seeking his support and vote. But now, no one cares.
It's not just the time during monsoons but the period immediately after the rains, when the environment is right for all types of diseases to spread. The administration rarely acts on preventive mode but waits for an epidemic to be declared and then the state administration gets into fire fighting mode. The state response is always reactive never preventive, that is, if they react at all.
The situation is worse in areas that lie along the Yamuna or other canals. During the monsoon the water overflows and floods the fields and homes of people living nearby. During these days, availability of essential food supplies is difficult and the state administration is not to be seen.
It's not only the people who suffer but the helpless cattle that go through hell in these times. There is very little fodder and almost no drinking water that will help it to remain alive and healthy. Per force, the poor animal drinks the disease infested waters and then has to live the agony with no one to understand or provide any kind of relief.
A few years back, when Yamunanagar area was hit by floods, the state administration was underprepared to handle the resulting flood situation and was slow in providing relief. Not much has changed since.
In the aftermath of the monsoons, the true picture of the condition of roads in Haryana emerges. One doesn't need to go to the moon, we have it right here on the roads of Haryana.
Unfortunately, our senior officials or politicians in power do not have to go through all of this otherwise we would have seen the immediate release of investment on basic infrastructure.
10 years have gone by with no political will or effort to solve this perennially recurring problem that people have to face each year during monsoons. The people have lost faith in this administration's will and ability to solve this issue.
The people are now looking forward to a change in government that is honest, efficient and administratively capable and one which can take charge of building a Naya Haryana.