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Administration in chaos

Administration  in chaos
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Some time ago a few foreigners visited Vijayawada in an exchange programme of a service organization. After going round the city about which they had...

Some time ago a few foreigners visited Vijayawada in an exchange programme of a service organization. After going round the city about which they had heard much, three beautiful canals coursing through, reminding one of Venice and so on, they heaped praise not on the city but on the monumental patience of the people.

They were surprised to find that they were so docile and good-natured that they could put up with any amount of hardship without even so much as a protest, 'like patience sitting on a monument smiling at grief,' as Shakespeare put it. They were aghast at the poor sanitation and horrible condition of several roads.

I tried to defend saying that the condition of roads in the State capital was worse. At several points in the city and its outskirts they came across vehicles going through pits wide enough for a lorry to get stuck. They asked what the authorities were doing with all the money collected from people as taxes. What are the people doing if the government is so very incompetent as not to be able to provide such basic amenities as tolerable roads, they asked.

When I asked what they would do in their country under such circumstances, they replied that it would never happen, and if it happened they would raise hell and never allow the authorities to remain in peace till the situation was rectified. A This was quite a long time ago and during these two decades, if anything, the situation has only worsened with the State in perpetual turmoil over issues like bifurcation and so on. What is said about this city holds good everywhere in the State with only a little difference of degree.

Elections to local bodies have been long overdue and the affected people have been left to the mercy of the bureaucrats who bide their time and go away leaving the problems in a worst condition. Here three municipal commissioners changed in one year and with all their efficiency, they have not been able to touch even the fringe of the problem. A The news item on Thursday in The Hans India that the city has turned into a dumping yard is a glaring example of the deteriorating conditions in the city.

Raising hell Talking of 'raising hell', in the recent agitation all over the State on the hardships imposed on power consumers through retrospective surcharges, all parties joined together, including a few from the ruling party, in protesting with a rare sense of unanimity. With all that the government, in its true 'pachydermic style', refused to budge and only a few marginal concessions were offered which are just eyewash. Though a few parties talk about this issue more with an eye on the elections, there are some parties genuinely interested in bringing relief to the people, and even they could not make the authorities see reason.

If people have to come into the streets and ventilate their genuine grievances, what are the elected representatives there for? It is too much to expect them to act in any other manner except toeing their party's line of action. We have a very competent bureaucracy, well-versed with rules and regulations but the way some of their very efficient ones have been used putting them in trouble for no fault of theirs, except in a few cases, everybody is wary and reluctant to take even rightful decisions, thereby leaving the administration in a state of uncertainty. Right now all is not well and the State administration is in chaos, literally!

'Affluenza' Some time ago there was a mention in this column about the lavish weddings which have become order of the day to keep up with the Joneses. After a brief respite, the marriage season is starting shortly. It looks as though all those rolling in wealth behave the same way all over the world.

Look at the expenditure for a birthday party in Tangier as reported widely. It was for the 70th birthday of Malcolm Forbes, publisher of Forbes Magazine, and his properties were worth 700 million dollars at that time in 1990. Then it was described as the 'party of the century'. He spent three million dollars for the party. On food, drinks and entertainment the bill came to a million dollars. The biggest expense was on the planes.

A Concord, a Boeing 747 and Forbes own Boeing 727 were used to fly in around 750 guests. It was a completely Moroccan meat that was served. Forbes cut the cake with the still glamorous Elizabeth Taylor holding the knife with him and Lee Iacocca standing by his side. "You are only 70 years old once in your life," said Forbes explaining the extravagant spending. As someone aptly said, it is 'Affluenza' of the worst type.

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