Indian Towns

I have over the past few years visited many Indian towns – especially the ones with Jain temples during our pilgrimage vacations that we take about once a year.  Two positives: most towns now have uninterrupted electricity and very good mobile coverage. But some things have just not changed. The two biggest issues I continue to have are the quality of access roads and sanitation.

I wonder when we will learn to build proper roads in India. If we want, we can do a good job of the construction process. But perhaps, the inclination is just not there since there is a guaranteed annual income to be made by everyone involved by not doing it right each time around. In some of the smaller towns, the situation is even more pathetic. Like within Palitana. There is an effort to concretise the main market road, but the current state of most of the roads there is so pathetic, it is a wonder that the local population accepts the status quo.

The same is true for the sanitation. Dirty puddles of water abound. And some of these stinking stretches are in front of shops. I am amazed no one does anything about them. Private spaces (in homes, hotels and dharamshalas) have improved, but no one seems to care about the public spaces.

In places like Palitana, there is so much money that is being spent by pilgrims. Even if a small fraction of that can be allocated towards improving the place, it would make it a much more pleasant experience for everyone visiting. Right now, no one seems to be responsible. India needs some grassroots action in these areas.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.

3 thoughts on “Indian Towns”

  1. It is not that we don’t know how to make good roads, the politicians don’t want to make good roads

    Infrastructure projects is what feeds all political parties. If we make good roads that need attention every 10 years, how will our politicians get a cut from the govt spend every year? They will never kill a cash cow.

  2. I know the town you are talking about. I belong to the same area in Gujrat and i would echo the words of Mahesh on this.

  3. I firmly believe that the onus of the bad roads lies with the public. The indian public is very tolerant (read not very demanding) and they are used to adjusting for everything in their life so why not just drive around the potholes. They only respond when adjustment is not possible and thats also when the govt. responds. It is a very reactionary eco-system.

    For a persistent infrastructure solution we need a radical generational change. Generational because the current public has already come to terms with the system and only the new generation can be taught to expect, demand as well as provide better service and infrastructure in their life.

    I would urge parents, teachers and other pro-activists to inculcate the behavior of excellence (expecting and delivering) in our future generations. This will have the potential of making lasting changes.

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