By Siddharth Srivastava
NEW DELHI: Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is focused on setting right government functioning that I believe will go much beyond shunning red beacon lights on official cars and bungalows in Lutyens’ Delhi.
If they are able to fix just this and nothing more, it would be a massive achievement. I have selfish (survival maybe a more apt word) interests that I want addressed ASAP.
The failure of government closely impacts my existence and anybody else connected to this country, I am sure. There are, for instance, unnecessary and heavy expenditures I am forced to incur due to dysfunctional delivery or non-existent public services. I have invested in expensive inverters and a diesel guzzling and polluting generator due to unreliable power.
If I did not I would probably be keying in this piece using a type writer in candle light. I have installed a water cleanser system, again very costly, due to the abysmal quality of the intermittent water supply. Sometimes the germs are so big they are visible to the naked eye. The filter needs to be changed almost every month due to the muck that flows in the water.
I have to maintain cars for each member of the family due to absence of safe, reliable, comfortable public transport even as I regularly witness our VIP’s traverse about in big Lal Batti vehicles bought and maintained by tax payers’ money. I do use an auto rickshaw sometimes at considerable risk to my life and limb.
Unchecked and reckless auto drivers are real life Subway Surfers freaks. They offer their customers two choices – either reach the destination or die. I mean, this is not some Star Trek mission, just a short distance drive on earth.
Of course, I need to mention the quality of roads, again maintained by the government, that make the auto journey even more unpalatable. The auto drivers predictably believe that whizzing dangerously over potholes is part of the inbuilt gaming experience.
I am happy about India’s proposed missions to the moon or Mars. I am very unhappy about the permanent craters that exist on our roads. I, along with my neighbors also have to pay for a pool of private guards to prevent our homes getting burgled or cars stolen. I believe this is the job of the cops who are instead deployed to protect some nondescript VIP whose life is supposed to be more precious than all of humanity put together.
Then, I need to send my kids to an expensive private school as government schools are a joke in terms of quality of education and infrastructure, including mid-day meals offered. There is a shortage of teachers, those appointed are absent or on strike and those that teach desperately need to be taught. Each time I or a family member needs to visit a private hospital I pay astronomical consultancy and diagnostic fees.
I should not need to but do not have a choice. I visited a dirty dingy overcrowded government hospital once after I twisted my leg. The queue was so long, the process to finally see a doctor so complicated my ankle would have healed or remained permanently crooked by the time I actually received any treatment. I limped to a private clinic nearby.
There are too many people in our country, including road accident victims, who die due to failure of our medical system to intervene on time.
Then, there is the question of efficiently managing our natural resources to produce enough fuel such as coal, gas or oil.
The growing dependence on imports has resulted in our rupee devalued to levels that make a takeaway coffee in London a fine dining experience that needs to be sipped and savored like expensive wine. If the Aam Aadmi Party resolves to take on the above mentioned issues in Delhi and hopefully rest of India, my vote is forever with Mr Kejriwal.
(Gurgaon-based Siddharth Srivastava is a former Times of India journalist who is also the author of best-selling novel titled An Offbeat Story)