Apathy breeds mosquitoes in Telangana
Recently the terms "governance" and "good governance" are being increasingly used in development literature.
Recently the terms "governance" and "good governance" are being increasingly used in development literature. The concept of good governance is not new. What is governance?
In simple words, it is a decision-making process and the process through which it is implemented. In fact, whether it is governance at government level or corporate governance, international or national governance or local governance, everyone is expected to make decisions.
If they make wise decisions it would be considered as good governance or else, it would be bad governance. But of late the word good governance has become the buzz word and every government keeps patting its own back and uses the word in every context.
They have become the judges and claim to be delivering good governance. By any chance it they get elected for the second time then nothing can stop them from beating their own chest that they are the best.
Another most misused word these days is 'transparency'. Even when corruption is prevalent right under their nose, those heading the government talk of transparency and claim that their governance was good governance and that they had rooted out corruption to a great extent.
Transparency actually means that decisions are taken and enforced strictly in accordance with the rules and regulations. It also means that information is freely available and directly accessible to those who will be affected by such decisions and their enforcement.
Transparency also means that enough information was made available in easily understandable forms and media.
But then what is good governance? It is nothing but serving all the stakeholders within a reasonable time frame by adopting best policies where they may be from.
There is nothing wrong in picking up the best practices and modify them to suit the local requirements. This in fact was being done till at least about two decades back. In last two-and-a-half decades, politics in India have taken a new turn and regional parties gained prominence.
Nothing wrong in it but in the last decade the decade or so, the regional parties have started considering themselves to be larger than life. Now a stage has come where the regional parties claim that Centre exists only because of them and that only they have the intelligence to govern.
As this has led to a situation where some kind of arrogance seems to have crept into administration. There are any number of schemes which are being implemented by State governments ruled by regional parties which are adopted from among the existing schemes with certain modifications but every regional party claims no one in the country if not world had ever thought of the kind of programme they had introduced in their States.
A stage has come when they refuse to accept that some other State had done better than them and are not willing to adopt even the success stories.
For example, the Delhi government had done a fantastic job. For the last five years, they have waged a war on mosquitoes. Delhi as everyone knows had become a city where mosquito menace was very high and like in any other State, dengue cases were on the rise soon after the monsoon used to arrive. But the programme taken up by them on mission mode has now made Delhi dengue-free.
The menace of dengue fevers has been on the rise in Telangana as well. But except statements and some photo events like cleaning pots in the houses by VVIPs etc, nothing has been done to tackle the issue in a serous manner.
Every year the authorities, particularly the Municipal Administration, talks of spending huge amounts but the claims do not match the ground situation.
Even in the capital city of Hyderabad, notwithstanding the claims of the GHMC, the fact remains that no fogging takes place. This is something the entomology wing of the GHMC should be doing. When questioned, they reel out statistics of fogging once in seven days or 15 days in certain vulnerable areas.
But the reality indicates that nothing of the sort is happening. The areas along the banks of the Musi are the worst affected. After failing to get any kind of help from the civic authorities, people near Golconda have pooled their resources and have purchased a fogging gun.
But then, they are facing another problem of piling up of garbage. In many areas, they complain that even some oil is not poured into the water pools where the mosquitos bite.
While people's participation in the efforts of civic authorities to control mosquito menace can go a long way, here the role of civic authorities has become dismal, but no proper action plan is seen at the ground level.
This certainly cannot be called good governance. In Delhi, the State government had opened Basti Dawakhanas where they have provided best of the services. Each Dawakhana has facilities to conduct 125 diagnostic tests and is manned by specialists, general physicians and house surgeons.
Any patient who goes there is given free medicines. They have specially modelled vehicles which visit all the colonies in Delhi not just the slums. These vehicles are equipped with special sound system and have qualified doctors who examine the patients and supply free medicines.
The Chief Minister himself has turned into a brand ambassador to create awareness on need for mosquito control. 10 hafte, 10 baje, 10 minutes, campaign has caught the attention of the people and finally it has made the capital city dengue free.
It's time the leaders here too wake up and focus on good delivery by adopting such practices, make necessary changes to suit the requirements of the State and become achievers.
In fact, it should be a two-pronged programme wherein the government should rope in the participation of Opposition parties cutting across politics and party lines and also involve the people in a big way.
Soon after the new State of Telangana was formed, the GHMC had purchased large number of small vehicles and all those who used to collect garbage either by autorickshaw or cycle rikshaw were made owners.
A movement to supply two dust bins to each house so that the segregation of garbage was done before it was collected was launched. But halfway through, it seems to have lost its steam. Even if the houses separate the garbage and put it in two different bins, those who collect it just dump them together in their vehicles.
When Swachh Bharat concept has taken a beating and piling up of garbage is now once again a common site in Hyderabad, it is but natural that spread of diseases would be high.
The Opposition parties, while highlighting the problem, should also have taken up some activity to create awareness among the people but they too confine themselves to criticising the government and visit some hospitals, distribute some fruits and speak to the waiting media and call it a day.
Its time the authorities as well as the Opposition turn more responsible, more sensitive to ground situations and involve people in making the cities in Telangana most liveable.