Wednesday, Jul 23, 2003
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By Sujay Mehdudia
What many citizens found most shocking was the virtual absence of not only the official men and machinery but also heads of the ruling Congress in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi. Be it the Leader of the House and Chairman Standing Committee, Ram Babu Sharma, or the Delhi Mayor, Ashok Jain, or for that matter top bureaucrats of the Corporation, all of them were nowhere to be seen exposing their claims of being the true representatives of the people.
Even as people in a large number of areas of the Capital suffered, having been forced to live in knee-deep stinking sewer water, the political leaders sat in their airconditioned rooms instead of being out on the streets.
No doubt the rains were unprecedented but the response of the civic body was also equally indifferent. The control rooms of the MCD failed to respond as complaints continued to pour in about flooding and waterlogging in many parts of the Capital. The drains were choked and the tall claims of pre-monsoon work having being done and completed on time fell flat on the face.
``Even in the days after the waterlogging, the response of the political leaders has been pathetic. Be it the Opposition BJP or the Congress, everybody has left the people to fend for themselves. The political leaders and officials should have been among the people and at least given them a patient hearing,'' a senior Minister remarked.
Interestingly, despite serious lapses in the upkeep of drainage and sewer system, for which even the Delhi Jal Board is responsible, no heads have rolled till date.
For their part, the MLAs are crying hoarse over the failure of the MCD to respond to the problems in their areas. "It's been days since we have raised the matter of garbage lying strewn all over the place in our area. The drains are choked and waterlogging in the residential colonies and market areas continues to be a matter of concern. But this has failed to stir the Corporation or its leadership out of slumber and the party could suffer damage in the Assembly polls on this account alone,'' a group of MLAs said.
In fact, many in the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) feel that it was deliberate negligence on the part of the Corporation. This could be the result of serious infighting within the ruling Congress as some MLAs have already claimed that `instructions' have been given to officials not to attend to complaints of certain MLAs so that their image nose dives.
"The waterlogging and cleanliness hardly matters to us. It is the problem of the local MLA as he has to contest the elections and not us,'' remarked a Congress Councillor sarcastically.
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