Monday, 15 August 2016

Congratulations Mr. Vijay Goel

Dear Mr. Goel,

Let me start off by congratulating you and your team of officials. You have managed to travel across the world to Brazil, that too by business class, all of that on someone's else's money! Middle class Indians like us cannot dream of doing that, even on economy class. 

And talking of economy class, I presume you're aware that some (if not all) of our atheletes had to travel by economy class. Why, most of them were not even allowed to bring their personal trainers/ physios with them. You and your officials did a tremendous job of cutting down costs, especially since the funds came from taxpayers' money. If everyone starts travelling by business class, like your officials, that would be a huge strain on our country's economy. Thank you very much for the cost saving. 

Believe me Mr. Goel, I am quite jealous of you and your officials. India's medal tally, as I write, stands at zero and not a question has been asked, much less even a word spoken about you or any of your officials losing their jobs. Lesser mortals like us, who have to justify the salary we earn, would have long since been fired for much less. You and your officials, despite such an embarrassing performance do not need to answer any questions. Pardon me Sir, but I am green with envy.

I know that its just over a month since you assumed office and that you personally deserve little credit for the performance of our atheletes at Rio. Nonetheless, judging by your selfie spree and the controversy over the conduct of your entourage, I have little doubt that you will uphold India's glorious sporting traditions. Hopefully, some day India would have won as many olympic medals as Phelps. That would be a fantastic achievement, isn't it?

Let me make a small suggestion that would not only help preserve our glorious tradition, but also save a lot of taxpayers' money: boycott olympic games in the future! I know that you and your officials would lose out on a free vacation, but surely, other avenues can be found. 

Congratulations and thank you once again. Keep up the good work Mr. Goel. Your officials have successfully managed to make India an object of derision every olympics and I am confident they will continue doing so under your leadership.

A Middle Class Indian.

Monday, 1 August 2016

Open Letter to Devendra Fadnavis

Dear Devendraji,

I trust that the plentiful monsoon that Maharashtra is currently experiencing would have brought you and your government some much needed relief. I fully understand and appreciate the mess you inherited after 15 years of poor governance and back to back droughts in your first two years in power. I also appreciate that its less than two years since you assumed power, and so it is too early to comment on the work being done by your government.

Nonetheless, the work being done under the Jalyukta Shivar Yojna is commendable. Hopefully droughts will indeed be a thing of the past in a few years time. The work done by your government on reducing the number of clearances required to start a business has been tremendous. The urban infrastructure projects your government is expediting will hopefully improve the quality of life in urban Maharashtra. Given all those facts, there is reason to cheer.

Having said that, I fear there are significant areas of concern that still remain and to be honest, I see little (if anything) being done on that front.

Lets start with the condition of urban roads. Admittedly my perspective is limited to what I have seen in Mumbai. Still, from the little that I see, nothing has improved. The roads in Mumbai still remain potholed. Why, the road outside the lane where I live has depressions that look like craters rather than potholes. I have also seen several spots where paver blocks have come out. I'm sure you're aware of the hundreds of crores lost due to the accidents and time lost due to the resultant traffic jams. We, the people, understand that there are vested interests there. Nonetheless, if the Chief Minister cannot fix the roads in his state capital, what hope does the rest of the state have?

A second issue is that of law and order. From what I hear, nothing has changed on the ground as far as policing is concerned. Its been a decade since the Supreme Court came out with its ruling on police reforms in the Prakash Singh case. Can we, the people of Maharashtra, hope that we will eventually see a police force that's free to do its duty, unhindered by political pressures?

Much the same can be said of the state judiciary. Being a member of the legal fraternity, you have first hand knowledge of the appalling shortage of judges and the extent of corruption in the lower courts. Non-functioning fast track courts hardly augur well for a state that has ambitions of being the best in the country.

And talking of reforms, can we expect that the supreme court directives in the TSR Subramanian case will see the light of day in our state? As the Chief Minister, you certainly know better than anyone else that your government's vision will remain just that until you reform the bureaucracy. If nothing else, it would be in your own interest to implement bureaucratic reforms.

Lastly Mr. Fadnavis, I urge you to give a serious thought to the power situation in our state. Having yourself grown up in a city where power cuts and load shedding are the norm, you can imagine perfectly well the condition of Maharashtrians in smaller towns and villages. I am aware of the fact that your government has sanctioned solar power projects for 87.5 MW. Hopefully, those projects will actually be implemented in the coming years.

I am neither an ardent supporter nor a blind detractor Mr. Chief Minister. Purely as a resident of your state, I request you and your team to give us a better life than previous governments have deemed us fit to enjoy. If you can do that, you have my unquestioned support in 2019- and on this count, I believe I speak for millions of Maharashtrians.

Respectfully,

A Proud Maharashtrian.