Thursday, 13 August 2020

B(H)Ar-At Nirman

Updated: March 5, 2011 5:39 pm

When the whole world is feeling the heat emanating from Egypt, the poor man in India, completely oblivious of these developments, squatted in a corner of street, is thinking, rather wondering, whether he would be able to earn two square meals for his family! Yes this is the odious side of India that is Bharat—striving hard to emerge as the global superpower. No doubt, India is leapfrogging to excel in every field, yet between 2009 and 2010 India’s relative ranking on the Human Development Index remains as it was last year. Moreover, the other side of the ‘emerging superpower,’ i.e.—ever-widening dichotomy—is so repugnant, that my head was filled with eternal ignominy when I read a news in an English daily that on January 8, 2011, Gokul Singh Gond, of Druminia village, Madhya Pradesh, placed his dead daughter Sohagvati on the back of his bicycle and pedalled 10 km to the nearest district hospital for an autopsy. On the same day, cricketer Gautam Gambhir was auctioned for 2.1 million dollars for the fourth edition of IPL, the highest amount of money offered for the services of a cricketer in the history of the game. Given this scenario, UPA government is putting on two ‘mukhotas’ (faces)—on the one hand, India, under its stewardship, is poised to send its business classes to take over the world when, on the other, it condemns vast sections of its citizens to subhuman existence. It is no secret that lakhs of people die owing to hunger and mal-nutrition, whereas lakhs of tonnes of foodgrains in FCI godowns are rotting. But the authorities concerned do not take any pains to upgrade the storage facilities.

                Another instance of UPA’s double-mukhota: The Agricultural Minister Sharad Pawar was asked some months ago when would the ever-escalating prices come down, he had brusquely replied that he was not an astrologer. And now the same minister is turning astrologer and predicting India may harvest its second-highest amount ever of foodgrains in 2010-11, including a record 81.47 million tonnes of wheat—what a somersault! Moreover, the government is unwilling to buy wheat from our domestic producers at a high price. But it is more than happy to import wheat at a much higher price and that wheat, by the way, is of lower quality. But that does not disturb us. We are happy as long as we are importing and somewhere down the line or up the line, the middleman is benefiting. But in this gloomy scenario only a fool will be perturbed. For, who says there is shortage of food items? Just place an order for pizza and, lo and behold, within 30 minutes the hot, sizzling, mouth-watering pizza will be at your doorsteps, if late for a single minute, you are entitled not to pay a single paisa. See? Then Pawar is right when he says the government should adopt a liberal approach in deciding on exports of foodgrains and vegetables.

                It can be gainsaid that India is forced to import more than 80 per cent of its petroleum requirements. Yet it is only in India, that is emerging superpower Bharat, there are cars and cars, no matter there are not enough fuel and proper roads, and your car won’t move an inch as the traffic situation on Indian roads keeps worsening at this rate. Notwithstanding the fact, the number of cars on Indian roads is multiplying everyday, the efforts to strengthen the infrastructure to support this growth are not enough to keep up with the present trend. So what? With growing incomes, it is not surprising that Indians want to live a lavish lifestyle. Every other individual aspires to own a car these days. Situation is better in metros, where most upper middleclass households have more than one car. And why not? Why would they realise that this mode of convenience would soon turn into a headache, with endless traffic jams becoming more and more common? Don’t forget UPA has a ‘magic wand’, which it had used to rename the NDA-sponsored Pradhan Mantri Sadak Yojana as ‘Bharat Nirman’. How thoughtful—instead of naming the project after Pradhan Mantri, UPA intelligently dedicated the project to the entire nation! Under the Bharat Nirman scheme, 1,46,185 km. of road length was proposed to be constructed by 2009. Forget attaining this number, even in the financial year 2010, of the targeted 14320 km of road length a total of 6467.08 km road length was constructed. That is another sign of an emerging superpower. Now, going by all these facts, it seems that all those, who say that they earn only about Rs 25/- to Rs 30/- per day under NREGA, which falls under Bharat Nirman, after doing eight-hour continuous job, are hell-bent on defaming the UPA government. For, in the present ambience, getting the car loan is so easier that these people can ‘vroom’ over their miseries by getting that, though it cannot be said of education loan and why they would need education, that too under the UPA regime—which is always at their service.

Deepak Kumar Rath

Deepak Kumar Rath

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