During the British era, Ranchi was a much cleaner and pleasant city, in fact it was anointed as the summer capital of unified Bihar. Even as late as 1960s and early 1970s, Ranchi was famous for its salubrious weather and in fact the electric connections for fans were not needed at all, in its buildings. But that was then.
After the creation of Jharkhand state in 2000, the haphazard and unplanned growth of Ranchi and other Urban Centres across the state do draw our attention towards the deeper malaise that afflicts these urban centres. The greed and corruption culminated in the arrest of officials of R.R.D.A. (Ranchi Region Development Authority) Scam that allegedly allowed the Builders to fill the Ranchi’s urban space in chaotic way.
But Ranchi is not alone; other urban centres like Jamshedpur, Dhanbad, Bokaro, Giridih, Chaibasa, Hazaribagh, etc. too face the same problems.
1. Basic Infrastructure Facilities Are Not Up To The Standard
Due to mushroom like growth in Ranchi, the water level has gone down drastically; even many of its famous Talaab (ponds) have shrunk or completely disappeared. The boring and deep-boring done by private residences and numerous apartments have created an alarming situation, as the water supply connection from nearby reservoir does not cover them. During summers, the residents experience severe water shortage in almost all the urban centres.
It is paradoxical that Jharkhand supplies coal to the various power plants located all across India, yet our state does not generate enough power to meet its own power consumption need. There is huge gap between the Demand and the Supply of the electricity. Many villages in the rural areas are yet to get electricity supply, whereas many urban centres get only few hours of electricity supply, often at the irregular hours; unless one is staying in the V.I.P. (very important persons) locality.
Unlike electricity supply, the roads do not distinguish between V.I.P.s and the commoners; their narrow driving space, potholes and disordered manner of traffic flow, ensures that everyone gets to taste of same medicines. But for the blaring sirens and the signals of the beacon lights, the V.I.P.s do get away with somewhat smooth traffic flow for them.
The sub-standard infrastructural facilities do not do justice to our urban centres, which are supposed to be looked after by the State Government’s Departments as well as their Municipalities. Still the unpalatable truth is that State Government has yet to delegate the requisite powers to its Municipalities, as a result our municipalities lose out on the Central Government’s massive funds meant for the development of infrastructure facilities in our Urban Centres.
2. Government Owned Health Facilities Are Poorly Maintained
The last year’s CAG Report highlighted the massive mismanagement in the premier Government Hospital of Jharkhand, called Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) built on the pattern of famous AIIMS Hospital of Ranchi (read our old detailed article on it).
In Jharkhand, those common people who can afford the higher fees of Non-Government Doctors and the Private Hospitals; they never head towards the poorly maintained Government Hospitals unless compelled by circumstances. For instance, we saw first hand, that to get even the mandatory ‘medical-certificate’ for jobs / education purposes, one has to make umpteenth rounds to the office of the concerned person.
After talking to sample of patients undergoing treatment in RIMS Hospitals, we noticed that most of the patients in such type of Government Hospitals and Health Centres, they belong to economically weaker sections of our society, who have no options but to get themselves treated there. Visit to these hospitals, and we noticed that the hygiene was the perhaps low on priority of the Hospital Management.
We think the biggest problem that is causing trouble in our Health Facilities is that the making money using corrupt ways has taken over among many of the honourable medical profession.
3. Quality Of Education In State Government School Is Pitiable Besides College Education Lacks Both Quantity And Quality
In the field of school education in our urban areas, at least the Private School and Other School establishments offer an alternative to the young students, by giving much better quality of education compared to the State Government Schools.
State Government Schools in urban areas, just like their counterparts in rural areas have become less of educational institute but more of corrupt organizations that end up making money from various government-funded educational programmes for the staff / people associated with these Schools; wherein teaching is low on priority.
Our state has severe dearth of Professional Colleges for Medical, Engineering, Management, et al. In addition, our universities have yet to raise their educational standards and streamline their academic-session, to compete with the top universities of our country.
No doubt in the highly competitive 21st century, our educational system is not providing the necessary education tools to our youngsters to compete to survive and finally to thrive. With a result, we collectively as a state, continue to lag behind in the Human Development Indexes.
4. Don’t Have Plans To Boost Our Urban Economy, Increase Business Opportunities & Employment In Urban Areas
In the last decade, we have seen our Cities / Urban Areas expanding and growing rapidly. The primary reasons for the same are the growth stories in the Real Estate Sectors, the Retailing Sectors, the Services Sectors, etc. But the setting up of the Industrial Units of the respected business houses is conspicuous by their absence. Quite unlike the mega Industrial Projects of the earlier years, our state has not been able to attract Investments by the newer industrial growth stories that we could proudly talk about.
Besides, even the State Government’s various recruitment drives to fill up vacant spots in many of its departments have been marred with scams and dishonesty at all the levels. As a result many eligible candidates in the last decade lost on employment opportunities, due to utter incompetence and prevalent corruption at the level of Government.
This is tragic that Jharkhand despite being blessed with Minerals, Tourist Spots, Vast Agriculture Land, Good Weather, hard-working Human Resources, et al, we have failed miserably to progress economically. As a result, large-scale migration of both skilled and unskilled labour (both White-collar and Brown-collar) continues from our state.
5. Lack Of Discipline And Respect For Rule Of Law In Urban Areas
Educated Commoners living in the urban areas too have to share the blame for the kind of mess that we have created in our cities.
Traveling around the urban centres around the state, we would invariably find that the big building blocks have come up without any serious planning, with absence of planned drainage and sewerage systems, these simply dump their big pile of thrash on the side of their buildings / or even on the roads, even the Offices / Shops / Hospitals throw their garbage on the roads, meanwhile the clogged drains of our cities keep on overflowing on the roads, spreading filth on our roads.
On the same dirty and overcrowded city roads, the law enforcement agencies, including State traffic Police have to use all their wits on a daily basis to enforce discipline and respect for the rule of law among the common people driving on the roads.
Our contempt for the laws of our land is even more visible on the roads of our urban centres, where people jump red-lights, park wherever they feel like, drive in dangerous manner, do not wear helmet while driving their two-wheelers, do not use seat-belts, show mindless stunts on bikes, display our aggressive side when told about the traffic-rules, etc.
Maybe most of us are indiscipline lot, lack civic sense and have no or very little respect for rule of law has come tricking down from the top-to-bottom in the state. Or may be not, when we point fingers at the Government, few of our own fingers do point at our shortfalls.
The onus lies with all of us, we need to improve all these aspect of ours, to make our living space, a much better and improved place to live in.
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