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.