Why keep white elephants?

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Like a proverbial ‘Andher Nagri’, nothing seems to work here in this God-forsaken land. Each field and every sphere of human activity here is corrupted with so many vices that one really wonders about the possibility of things changing for any good. Making the matters worst for the common masses is the fact that those at the helm, who are supposed to act as watch-dogs and set the wrongs right have long stopped to think in terms of public good. If at all anything moves them, it is their own petty and selfish interests. A crippling and frustrating inertia has become as a characteristic feature of more or less each and every wing of the bureaucracy here.

Of course those placed high up in the political and bureaucratic echelons will like to differ with what popular perception about the scheme of things is, however, this hardly impacts the reality on ground. Reality is what people experience in real life and it obviously has very little to do with what the political and bureaucratic bosses would want to see on paper or otherwise like to publicize. This marked gulf between the actual and the perceived reality is what is resulting in peoples’ disenchantment with the system. For instance, every now and then the government fixes rates of essential commodities, but these rates remain confined to the official rate-lists alone while as in the market places these rates are never implemented. And ironically the concerned officials have, as if presumed that their rates are being strictly adhered to. In such a situation isn’t it natural for the common consumer to question the very efficiency of the concerned agencies and doubt their capacity of working for the public good? If the concerned officials can’t make shopkeepers selling essential food items to abide by law and instead prefer watching ordinary citizens being cheated without any respite, do they really have any moral ground to be in the chairs they are occupying?

Irrespective of what the government wants the people to believe, reality is that the traders are having a field-day in the absence of necessary checks on them. Law and regulations are just confined to the rule-books having practically no utility or efficacy in controlling the unruly. Had it not been so, then our grocers and butchers and chicken-sellers would have shown some respect and regard for the law and norms. But they are so disdainfully breaking and violating law that one wonders if there would ever be a culture of any accountability here. On their part, once in a while one comes across the official assertions from Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution department about action taken against the black-marketers and profiteers, but then those who are booked so easily manage to buy their way out of the legal dragnet by greasing the palms of the officials, that even the punitive action fails to prove and deterrent for the unscrupulous.

In such a situation, it is but natural for the common masses to question the mandate of the concerned agencies. Is it really maintaining some semblance of law in the market-places or it is just to earn a quick buck through corruption which remains entrenched and institutionalized in every single sphere of official activity here. Now the common sense says if the concerned agencies can’t do what they are supposed to do – have traders respect law of the land — why should the state be paying them for their “uselessness”? Why have these elaborate government agencies and foot in the bills of their expenses when they are ‘good for nothing’ and have been relegated to just being a perennial embarrassment for the political establishment?

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