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Friday, September 22, 2006

Why Delhi is Going Down

Today's Hindustan Times has an a page one anchor describing what a Dutch diplomat has to say about the capital of the nation:

Anything that can go wrong, does go wrong; everyone interferes with everyone else; the people are a darn nuisance; the climate is hell; the city a garbage dump... New Delhi is the most miserable place I have ever lived in.

Turn to the Edit Page, and the former Union Minister of Urban Development Jagmohan, an example of the difference between the well-meaning and the populist, puts forward the reasons behind this mess:

When, in 2001, I was functioning as the Union Urban Development Minister, I had launched an extensive drive against offenders of civic and planning laws. At that time, I had pleaded with my fellow members of Parliament to consider: "In what type of Delhi do we want to live, and what type of legacy do we wish to bequeath to posterity and to our children and grandchildren? Do we want our city to become a junkyard of unauthorised constructions or an orderly and disciplined capital of a resurgent Republic?"

The response of the power wielders to this plea was a sudden change in my portfolio.

Politics is a short run affair; all that matters is the next election. It didn't matter to Jagmohan, he lost his seat. Why worry about the long run? John Maynard Keynes said, "In the long run, we're all dead." Right. But others will live and with the shrinking time frame of long-run implications we are almost seeing the results live. Delhi is fast transforming into the gutter, once a river, which divides the city into two. Delhi Metro rail isn't the saving grace.


thalassa_mikra said...

That's some diplomat, who thinks nothing of insulting his host country and it's hospitality in print. The Dutch are not winning congeniality competitions anytime soon.

Frankly I'd rather hear a genuine resident say Delhi sucks than a diplomat who thinks of India as punishment posting.

thalassa_mikra said...

Oh, and major kudos to the Indian government for firing back.

I read the article fully, and I'm astonished. This man is no rookie diplomat, he's 63 years old! You'd think he had learnt to bite his tongue by now.

aquamarine said...

add the grizzlu murder of the Belgian diplomat to that (among thousamds of other murders, stories of gang rape...)to that list...the story continues...they get published the end of all thia drama, the only question that comes to my mind as I am reading your post while I catch up with the NDTV coverage,
Wat's new?

Think about it: Politics, Delhi, garbage dump, murders, speech, coverage, no change...see the thread...

Appu said...

its just not safe for women, and its not something that we can be proud of. The worst thing is someone from outside commenting, and we KNOW it is true. So rather than "firing back" govt should look at making the roads safer

dwaipayan said...

update alert

Soumyadip said...

Thalassa_Mikra Diplomats are expected to be diplomatic. But sometimes, during interviews (or off the record remarks which anyway make it to print) they just loosen the guard. But, anyway his remark though not exactly expected of him, is not off the mark.

Aquamarine The list just goes on and on ...

Appu It's quite difficult to change the way people think, and that is the problem with the capital.

Dwaipayan There's a new post now.