Do not try to be “Harish Chandra”

A Non-Cooperative Approach of an Additional Municipal Commissioner

“A clean India would be the best tribute India could pay to Mahatma Gandhi on his 150 birth anniversary in 2019.” – Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi (02 October, 2014)

“Who asked you to clean the city-walls ? Did you ask for permission before undertaking the task ? Do not try to be ‘Harish Chandra’, we have many other things to do” – Additional Municipal Commissioner, Nagar Nigam, Lucknow

This regrettable statement from a government official came despite a high emphasize on cleanliness by Shri Azam Khan, Minister of Urban Development. The writer himself is witness to various statements by the Minister on various occasions where he talks on the importance of the cleanliness and hygiene. It is not just about what the Minister or any responsible person says, it is about the common understanding that a clean face of the city reflects the mindset of the people.

And this happens when the country is dreaming high of having Smart Cities and modern living infra-structure. Perhaps the problem is not with the government’s intention, it lies in the heads of those responsible to implement the schemes, and these handful officials are the ones who give bad name to their respective departments. Why can’t we have stern action ensured against such people who not compromise with their duties but also discourage others from delivering what is expected from them.

‘Kyunki Shahar Hai Aapka’ is an extended wing of LUCKNOW Society that is committed to carry out the drives to keep the city walls free of advertisement bills, during last one year, the organization has carried out number of activities and its list of enrolled volunteers has crossed 1000 mark. People from different walks of life are joining the activity out of their own interest with one common motive of keeping the city clean. Now the question is, when professionals, entrepreneurs, doctors, lawyers and students etc can participate and register their concern towards the city, why not the officials contribute in something for which they are appointed and paid for. It should be noted here that same official who gets a mention in the box, actually threatened the representatives of the NGO and insulted them when he was questioned to suggest the right person to raise the concerns. It would be unfair to generalize government officials as non-cooperative but there is a segment of shameless officials who are bent upon to offer everything negative and ensure that development measures are contained, their motives need to be thoroughly investigated.

It is upto the individual taxpayer that how he/she wishes to raise the concerns and the remedies offered by the authorities, it is a matter of civic responsibility on part of the people and the government. No government official should be allowed to give irresponsible response on the question of their accountability and they should behave as if they are doing any additional favor if the duties are fulfilled. The basic amenities are to be met with:

1. Implement a city-wide campaign for sorting waste at source, including separation into recyclables, organic, and non-recyclable items. This would immediately reduce the amount of garbage on the streets and engage Lucknow residents as partners in the solution.

2. Upgrade the existing waste treatment plants into more efficient ones: Once the amount of garbage is reduced through sorting, the existing plants (which fall under the jurisdiction of Nagar Nigam) could be easily turned into more efficient waste treatment facilities, therefore minimizing the amount of trash that has to be dumped. By producing better compost and extracting more recyclables, we can minimize the percent of trash currently going to landfills.

All necessary measures should be taken up to make the city clean and stop the defacing of the city walls. If a group of people can deliver the goods then why can’t the department which has all the logistic infra-structure to do the same. One cannot shy away giving an excuse or the other.

Shaheer A. Mirza

Writer is a travel professional, freelance writer, commentator and a political analyst

(Published in The Lucknow Observer, Volume 2 Issue 21, Dated 05 December 2015)

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