GUWAHATI: Will Dispur get its priorities right? Misplace priorities, it seems, continues to cast a shadow over balanced development in the State. In many development works done in the State, one will have to grope in the dark if the works are intended to benefit the public or a section of contractors.
Examples galore, right from the State Secretariat! There is a fountain in each of the open spaces between different blocks in the Janata Bhawan Dispur . The fountains were working well-giving viewers a green hue. Off late, all the fountains are being renovated with concrete structures. This expenditure raises a genuine question – what’s this largesse in aid of? Such a question makes sense as the State has a long list of works that seek immediate attention.
Come to the GS Road, one of the main thoroughfares of Guwahati. In the name of beautification, the divider of the road is being concretized. The footpaths on either side of GS Road are also being given a facelift with colorful grill designs. A huge amount is being spent for this facelift. The GS Road needs attention, but should it be at the cost of other more important ones? The problem of water-logging in Guwahati has been far from being solved. Even the GS Road comes under the grip of water-logging every now and then during the monsoon. It seems the bulk of development fund is spent on the GS Road, depriving other roads in Guwahati. The city has many roads without drains that cannot be used after a spell of rains. Who will look after all such roads? PWD roads and their drainage systems need to be maintained on a priority basis. However, instead of that, we find that dividers that are in good condition are being replaced with new ones. Take the case of the VIP Road’s left lane (while going from Six Mile) near Narengi Tiniali has long been pockmarked. It goes underwater after a spell of rains. The existing dividers on the VIP Road are also in good condition. However, they are being replaced with new ones squeezing the State exchequer. At whose benefit this work is being done?
Of late an ambitious scheme, costing around Rs 76 crore, is underway to illuminate certain areas in the State with high-mast LED lights. One such high-mast light has been erected at Palasbari recently. The target of the scheme is to erect such lights from Dhubri to Tinsukia. It sounds pleasant to the ear. However, what about the dark lanes and by-lanes in Guwahati and other towns in the State? There are many areas in Guwahati and other towns in the State where streetlights don’t glow. It is a fact that high-mast LED lights cannot glow entire Guwahati and other towns, but streetlights can if they are properly maintained.
Beautification of the GS Road, the State Secretariat or erection of high-mast LED lights are indeed good works. But that shouldn’t be at the cost of the essential services. Sometimes it seems that many ambitious schemes being taken up in the State are going to benefit a section of contractors more than the public, the usual target beneficiaries.
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