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Divine Developments & Rights

Monday, February 01, 2016
By Prashant Hamine

DEVELOPMENTS of the last week had halo of divinity about them in some cases. At least a section of the media was highly concerned about entry of women in some places of worship rather than the plight of people from drought-hit region whose throats remain parched for almost 23 days at a stretch in a month. Instead of grilling the government over drought and issues of development what we have been witnessing is debates over LED lights, entry for women in some places of worship and ostensible study tours of our corporators.

With elections happening almost all the year round at any structural tier of the government all over the country, it is only to be expected that there is a tendency among those in power to obfuscate the voters so as to engage them in non-issues, so that they do not ask awkward questions about public welfare and development. Nobody is irked by the fact that the Union government in the last one year alone has written six letters to the state wanting to know what it was doing to solve the drinking water woes of Latur, in Marathwada region. The situation is so grim that now even black bucks are dying of thirst!

The state government did not reply to five of them and when it did it was the most baffling reply – passing the buck on its own Urban Development Department! And the recipient of this strange reply from the state government is none other than Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Lok Sabha MP from Latur (SC), Dr Sunil Baliram Gaikwad. Everything in this is all about BJP. Why nobody wants to ask the government about its ambitious Jalayukta Shivar scheme aimed at water conservation and recharging underground water tables, about depleting forest covers, about the raging fire in Deonar dumping ground and the climate change.

As Gaikwad himself says the fate of the BJP in the ensuing civic elections will all depend on how the government tackles the water scarcity issue. But we have become so obsessed with playing politics or politicising any and every other issue that even the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Dhananjay Munde who undertook a morcha to condemn the governments inaction, appears to have forgotten his own party president Sharad Pawar's advice to his partymen to first help the farmers in distress.

The inertia in the Opposition ranks and the ruling Shiv Sena being more obsessed with its role of 'ruling opposition' and the BJP government looking like 'Alice in Wonderland'. Both the BJP and Sena seem to be more engrossed in scoring brownie points against each over LED lights, Open Spaces, Open Air Gymnasium, but have no answers to the raging fire in Deonar dumping grounds that is causing serious damage to environment and health of the people. More than answering on delayed infrastructure projects, poor state of roads and other issues both the quarrelling partners in government are busy fighting each other as to who wields the remote control of power and who needs to recharge its batteries.

Hope the people of Mumbai do not put the batteries of these two on 'recharge' mode in the 2017 Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation elections.

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