Every time one goes to a foreign locale, first thing that strikes him or her is the neatness and cleanliness. Not at the airport- airports are clean in India too- but the moment you step out! It could be Munich, Zurich. Cape Town, Johannesburg or closer home Singapore and Dubai! The roads are clean and so are pavements, railings and walls! Buildings are aligned and well maintained. Loosely dangling wires are no where to be seen. The question of slums and pavement dwellers doesn’t arise.
There’s no point lamenting about the above facts, because howsoever we may try through Swachch Bharat campaign and all that, the above mentioned stuff is simply not possible in India! With the population bursting at seams and not enough pucca houses to shelter them, people have no option but to build shanties and hutments wherever they find place and worse stay on pavements and roads! Mumbai may have been declared free of defecation in open, but we all know how serious the problem of availability of neat public lavatories is! And how can we ever dream of having neat walls till our favourite pass time is eating Pan stuffed with tobacco and getting ultimate pleasure in spitting all over! Government sees lots of risks in smoking and drinking, but pan is a matter of our culture and tahzeeb!
However, certain things we can certainly do. Instal CCTVs at every 500 meters to catch road hogs, honkers, speedsters, Lane cutters and law breakers. A disciplined nation’s first identity is discipline on its roads. The cost of investment in CCTVs can be recovered in one year’s time by saving on fuel, medical emergencies and police intervention. Have cleaner fleet of city transport and make it mandatory for private vehicle owners to maintain their vehicles well or face the music. Let cabbies, bus drivers, truck drivers wear proper uniforms and be taught personal and road etiquettes. CCTVs will also catch spitters and other nuisance makers (throwers of garbage- poor Anushka need not fight them, drug addicts, mentally deranged- all of who are risk to society) making our streets safer and better. Can we also check with one of these countries why don’t we see stray dogs, cats, cows and pigs on the roads and streets and how they deal with such strays humanely yet preventing them from being all over!