A system stinking at every pore!
They had come to attend the cremation ceremony of a fellow human being, but they never knew that this would be the last cremation to be attended by them. At least twenty-two of them had their life snuffed out of them as the lintel of the shed under which they had taken shelter from rain caved in and fell apart as if it were made simply of sand.
The unfortunate incident took place at Muradnagar, Ghaziabad. The shocking fact about the whole incident is that this structure had been built only a couple of months ago. The contractor who had built the shed surely used cement and sand in a very disproportionate ratio without any qualms.
And then some engineer had already approved of the structure and recommended payments for the contract. The whole nefarious game revolved around the lure of making of extra money, whatever its consequences for others.
Valuable lives have been lost for reasons which they could not have controlled! Now, as usual, the government has come up with a cash relief for the families of the deceased as if two lakh rupees is a proper evaluation for each lost life. That only adds fuel to the fire. The contractor will be implicated for some time now, but would most likely come out unpunished. An enquiry is likely to be instituted against a set of engineers and after six months or so the report fill be filed under pressure from some political leader.
The system itself is rotten to the core and stinks at every pore. Sometimes people ask one another to name the most corrupt department of government. Only the ranking on the corruption list for each department varies, but hardly any of them is missing in the reckoning.
Whosoever is vested with power tries to convert it into cash and self-aggrandizement. Officers of the law keeping force in uniform, right from the constable to the super cop are ever on the look out to make it big in terms of money. A miniscule percentage in any organisation is always exceptionally honest, but they don’t represent the norm.
The department of public works , the army of revenue officials who are demi-gods for land owners, the engineers from electricity boards, the department of land transport and vehicle licensing , the officials in control of market committees, the officials of departments of direct and indirect taxes, the food corporation of India, the state food supply offices, the Drug control offices, the Agriculture department which takes no cognizance of spurious insecticides and pesticides, the Animal husbandry department which allows sale of unhealthy meat —all are cited as dens of corruption.
No list can ever be exhaustive because there is hardly any area where there is no room for corruption and where there are no obligations but powerful Patrons.
Corruption goes on unchecked when exemplary punitive measures are not in place. The politician and the man of money are hand in glove and thus corruption is their natural child whom they nurse and protect zealously. Politics is not a profession. It is a chosen field of activity which expects leaders to become people’s voice and caretakers of the public interest.
However, what happens here is quite the opposite. Leaders become billionaires and wealth creators for their families. Our legislators enjoy a number of pensions for the varying terms they have served.
If a leader can draw half a dozen pensions running into several lac rupees each month, it only sets the general moral norms for the government employees to make money by any means.
The fall-out of this race to get rich is the reason behind the tragedies like the one that took a heavy toll in Murad Nagar cremation grounds yesterday. It is a system stinking at every pore.
(The author is a Retired Principal Government College, Hoshiarpur Punjab)