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Kahin Khushi Kahin Gham

Tuesday, July 07, 2009 05:46:51 PM, Aleem Faizee

Still to go long way.

The Pain in Malegaon

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Kahin Khushi Kahin Gham, Chief Minister Ashok Chavan reportedly said in his reaction to the rail budget presented by Mamata Banerjee on July 3. The one-liner came from the Maharashtra Chief Minister because ‘the key projects for the State were not sanctioned by the Railway Ministry’.


As head of the state, Chief Minister has every right to get disheartened if his plans failed to find a place in the final list of the approved projects. But he must introspect. A look in the his state would reveal that what Mamata did is perhaps the precedent set by successive governments in Maharashtra. No matter if the UPA Government led by Congress in New Delhi keeps on reiterating about its emphasis on inclusive growth and its priority to work for the people in rural areas. It was repeated once again when Pranab Mukherji delivered the budget speech on July 6 and Aam Aadmi was on top in his priority list. However in Maharashtra the whole energy of the government machinery, it seems, is reserved for select metros. If anything remains, it is used by few powerful politicians who owing to their clout in the government succeed in getting the sops for their constituencies.


Apparently Ashok Chavan’s budget comments reminded in our minds the pain of those juvenile children who unlike their counterparts in metros walk miles every day to catch their classrooms in major parts of the state, the scene that can be easily witnessed if one travels along the highways. His comments also reminded us the memories of the horrifying scenes of those women who could not get proper toilets in sixty years of independence and are forced to wander from one place to another every time they need to get fresh. In our mind was also recalled the agony of those old men and women who due to inadequate transportation wait for hours along the highways before reaching to their desired destinations.


Congress is leading the government in Maharashtra since last ten years. During these tenure ample number of schemes were announced. But most of them are gathering the dust in the Mantralaya and have not seen the light of the day till now. We were disheartened, like the Chief Minister is on the Railway Budget, when Minority Affairs Minister informed us that 167 crore rupees announced with much publicity by the government for the development of the minorities were not sanctioned by the finance department. And when the concerned Minister did try to get the funds sanctioned, he was informed that he could not use the amount in just few months. We were disheartened when the state government extended the facilities for the industrialists in some part of the state but refused to do the same for others. We were also disheartened when students in some part of the state get enough number of colleges offering higher education and other professional courses but a major chunk in the state just leave their education halfway because their parents cannot afford sending their children to other cities.


Of course the Chief Minister can take pride for the magical and near fairytale turnaround the metros have witnessed in last few years. The Chief Minister can no doubt take the credit for the huge malls dazzling under the high voltage lighting in the metros. And also for the roads in these metros being adorned by jumbo size placards and hoardings powered by continuous electric supply that most of the time remain so even during the day and in full sunlight. But he must note that there are also the people in his state who are denied electricity even during the exams. The Chief Minister must also note that if the industrial areas in the major industrial hubs are flourishing and enjoying all sort of facilities, there are industries in the state that are in queue since years crying for the government attention. Worse, due to power load shedding, these industrialists are turning bankrupt and their labourers are going through the trauma beyond one’s imagination.


That the facilities and sops have become available only to a privileged few in the state no longer remains a secret. Even the officers are openly admitting, a town cannot get its dues if they are not powered by ‘influential leaders’. Worse, this has resulted in the officers also turning a blind eye to the issues that pertain to smaller towns. The experience has shown, the officers are so busy when anyone approaches them with the issues related to the smaller town that they do not have even time to speak on phones let alone giving an appointment for personal hearing.


One can understand the agony of the Chief Minister and his care for the state when he said Kahin Khushi Kahin Gham reacting on the Railway budget. However we write this with utmost pain that the successive governments in Maharashtra have virtually transformed the whole state into a picture perfect of Kahin Khushi Kahin Gham.



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