Rhetoric of “progress”

Dear Editor,
Glittering shopping malls, high-end multiplexes, sky-kissing towers, “enviable rate of economic growth”, Sensex, gigantic statues or Bullet trains are not the passport to “modernity” and “development”.
Unless basic infrastructure is awarded the topmost priority, all rhetoric of “progress” are bound to fall flat and get inundated under water following few hours of shower.
Else, Mumbai and other cities will continue to get paralysed annually and these drastic callous failures will be required to get swept under the carpet of “resilience” of the Mumbaikars!
And the sponsors of “Smart Cities” should learn to be a bit ashamed on witnessing the pathetic infrastructure of all the “glamorous” metropolis of India which turns into an ocean of sorts following few hours of shower. Less said about the rural areas of India the better where even a dispensary often cannot be found within a radius of 10 km! It is nothing but scandalous that instead of eradicating the woes of the rural folks or improving the infrastructure of the traditional cities(even here also the greatest sufferers are the lowest strata of the society whose shanties get flooded); all focus, energy, resource and time are being allotted to the “Smart Cities” which would be the home of only the creamiest of the creamy layer of the society. We have witnessed how Bullet trains are being zealously sponsored so that the handful of elite can have a smooth ride; completely ignoring the plight of the billions of common Indians who have to suffer daily ordeal of late-running trains, cancelled trains, overcrowded trains and accident-prone trains. Not to forget the dismal conditions of the toilets and vulnerability of the passengers, thanks to the dacoits and snatchers!
The same mindset of pampering the nouveau riche and sponsoring all-things glamorous are being witnessed in case of urban planning also which is not only extremely unfortunate; but inhuman and unequal as well.
Kajal Chatterjee,