Friday, April 30, 2010

The modern-day Sisyphus

Development is essential. But what I dislike is when the funds for development are squandered in the most despicable manner.

I would like to present the following as an example of mismanaged development plans:
Ever since I returned back to Trivandrum, I have been witnessing many road expansion works. Now, unlike Washington DC, the roads of Trivandrum weren’t planned after deducing the population of Trivandum in the 21st century (774,983 residents as per the 2001 census) and accounting for roughly 315000 residents (in 2003) possessing a vehicle (which, I reckon, would have at least trebled by now). And unlike Cambridge with its narrow roads, the current powers-that-be have decided against implementing efficient system of one-ways and effective traffic management.

Road expansion projects are generally unpopular. Firstly, it is a bane for those owning properties or buildings by the road side: they would, inevitably, have to vacate, undergo the excruciating torture of witnessing their hard work being demolished to rubble, and are forced to accept a paltry compensation (if any). Secondly, these projects generate so much of dust which results in particulates much higher than the usual levels (considered to be supposedly 50 microgram per cubic metre; the US EPA’s National Ambient Air Quality’s standards are 150 µg/m3 for 24-hour PM10 and 35 µg/m3 for 24-hour PM2.5). Thirdly, all of this digging may result in a hapless wayfarer falling into the ditches.

Nevertheless, once slated, road expansion projects are seldom deterred, although there might be some amount of delays. The end result is quite striking: relatively wide metalled roads, with good terracotta-tiled footpaths (they definitely don’t spare any expenses!), and lawn turfs on the traffic islands, bordered by flowering herbs and shrubs such as bougainvillea, hibiscus, and canna. All lovely except that the vision is marred by 99.99% of vehicle drivers violating the basic rules of driving…

I shan’t deviate into listing the hazards of traveling in these roads, but would like to direct the attention towards these newly-made roads for, unfortunately, the happiness derived from observing these are transient. Within a month or two, one is bound to find these metalled roads and footpaths dug up so that the other-powers-that-be can install water pipes, electricity cables, and sundry. Upon completion of these ‘works’, the roads are seldom metalled again, neither are the footpaths reinstalled. Now, another recently developed road at Plamood (Plamoodu) has work underway to reduce the width of the footpath and to relocate the newly made bus stop. Numerous other sites in the city are also witnessing the laying of pipes and cables resulting in dug up roads and footpaths. And I am not the only individual who is frustrated by all this.

It is baffling as to why the departments concerned with such development plans are bent on negating all the good work done by the others. Surely all of this could be avoided with some amount of effective communication? This could, for instance, ensure that the pipeworks and electricity works are conducted first, followed by metalling the roads and creating footpaths. After all, all these development plans require resources, time, and expenditure. Doing this all over again only results in waste. Surely these powers-that-be wouldn’t practice the same whilst constructing their own residences?

Now, what’s the source of these development funds? Certainly not their own personal funds.

1 comment:

  1. I can sympathise, the same thing certainly happens in the UK! It is quite noticeable that in Brazil there is a sudden flurry of road works just before any election, to show how much work the sitting tenant is doing for his town.


It would be wonderful to read your thoughts/comments on the post.