Kochi: The state government gloating over the selection of Kerala as best governed state in the country by the Bengaluru-based non-governmental organisation Public Affairs Centre coincided with CPM MLA U. Pratibha sobbing in public lamenting the utter indifference shown by bureaucrats to her plea for taking some elementary road safety measures in accident prone areas of the National Highway in Kayamkulam.
In Kochi, Congress legislator P.T. Thomas was fuming over the absence of senior public works department (PWD) officials at a meeting of the District Development Council to discuss urgent road repair works needed to be undertaken in the wake of damages caused by the rains.
On Saturday, a person attempted self-immolation in the supply office at Aluva in protest over the delay in getting a ration card for him for the past two years.
A person tried to set fire to a village office near the state capital while another committed suicide in a government office near Kozhikode a few months ago due to the unbearable attitude of the officials in addressing concerns of the people concerned.
A WhatsApp message going viral detailing the quality of construction in two bridges built under the supervision of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Ltd and one by the state government-owned Roads and Bridges Development Corporation of Kerala (RBDCK) in Ernakulam city is another example of the desperation gripping the minds of the people.
In the WhatsApp message, a person vividly describes the pathetic condition of the bridge built by RBDCK.
The asphalting of the two bridges built by DMRC – Pachalam Railway Over Bridge and AL Jacob Bridge near KSRTC – remained intact while the Palarivattom flyover built by RBDCK has been virtually washed away even before the monsoon fury hit the city.
Finance minister Thomas Isaac on his Facebook page laments about people owning Mercedes Benz and BMWs drawing welfare pensions of the paltry Rs 1,000 from the government even as thousands of dead persons still drawing pensions.
The endless list of such grave failures at the elementary levels of governance raises serious questions about the quality of the administration.
“Kerala has topped the Public Affairs Index (PAI) for 2018 as the best-governed state for the third consecutive year since 2016 among large states,” the observation of the PAC releasing its public affairs index a week ago has to be viewed against this background.
The state may be on top when compared with other places in the country. Anyone taking an impartial look at the ground reality would concede that the state administration cannot afford to gloat over the PAC report.
A reality check on the quality of the infrastructure and the services delivery will prove that the state has miles to go before attaining a reasonable quality.
The quality of roadworks alone should be an eyeopener for the political class and the bureaucrats in the state. The average longevity of roads constructed mainly by the PWD and the local administration is less than one year, and such wastage of public resources cannot be allowed to continue in any civilised society.
Apart from the money spent on repairing and renovation every year the poor standards of the construction is also posing a significant environmental hazard in material utilisation.
The sand and rocks required for the road construction are placing a heavy toll on such resources, already facing a saturation level, in the state.
The irrigation and drinking water projects, the unending projects of the Kerala State Electricity Board, the complete breakdown in the matter of solid waste management and the utterly inhuman attitude of the government offices towards the genuine issues faced by the people calls for a ‘name and shame’ campaign on the lines of the ‘Me too’ gone viral all over the world.
PWD minister G. Sudhakaran has spoken against the stifling bureaucracy in the secretariat and the PWD many a time. Talking alone is not sufficient.
The time has come to name them and shame them in public. Imagine the plight of those owning Mercedes, BMW, Innova and other luxury models if Mr Isaac reveals their names.
It is high time for the finance minister to make their names in public because most of these worthies will be holding forte in cocktail circuits in and outside the state on how militant trade unionism has ruined the development of the state....