Three Months in India - Part 3 - Newspapers
I worked in Pune, India in 2018 for 3 months from March thru May. One thing that was similar to living in the USA is reading newspapers. The Ibis hotel provided free newspapers every day and I really enjoyed going thru them and reading the news - the good and the bad.
I took to cutting out articles from the papers and noting whether the article was something good or something bad. I ended up with a nice stack of articles. Today I will share two articles from March. Unfortunately, both of these are cataloged as bad, but I assure you that I have many good articles too.
This March article, mostly pictures, is titled Good Governance? Not Really. The article then shows pictures of bad governance.
Debris. Sweepers leave debris and waste. Despite appeals from residents, the waste remains. Unfortunately, I saw too many instances of waste being dumped everywhere, spoiling nature, sometimes, right in the middle of nature.
Tight Crossing. Along a busy road, opposite a school, there is not enough room to cross and people are worried that crossers will get injured. My experience is that crossing a road in India, any road, is the most dangerous daily activity you will have.
Broken Path. The article cites a sidewalk that is all broken up due to cabling work. It reports that the elderly have an especially hard time navigating this. I saw many instances of sidewalks that were in this same condition. Many times, there are not even sidewalks. I'm not sure which was worse or more dangerous.
Dangerous Cargo. A picture shows a rickshaw carrying wood slats that are about 8 feet long in a car body that is maybe 4 feet wide. I don't see this much in the USA but in my time there, I saw tuk-tuks as there are called that were packed with all sorts of people and items.
Garbage Lane and Destroying Nature. Both pictures complain about garbage along the sides of the road or even in the hills that is a health hazard and destroying nature. It seems that once someone dumps one barrel of garbage, others quickly follow. In my time there, I saw one and only one garbage truck. It seems to me that India needs to do a better job with garbage collection.
The article No Space for Pedestrians documents how the construction of a Metro station is taking over footpaths along roads. This work forces people to walk in the roads right with the traffic. I experienced this phenomenon on a daily basis in my half-hour walk to my office. You get used to walking with traffic but it certainly is unsafe. I kept thinking how typically, you would not see this in the USA because permits would require a police detail or barriers. The construction forces children into the road and violates the Pune Municipal code around safe walkways.
One thing you see is construction everywhere. Hotels, roads, general construction, and repair of streets. It seems that a lot of time, for transportation, little regard is given to pedestrian safety. Perhaps the laws are not being followed or enforced. I have also heard that bribery is quite common, which might also undermine safety standards.
These articles point out that people do care about the negative issues in India, but I think that people get frustrated by no action being taken. I read and felt many like-minded souls who want clean water, clean streets, safe neighborhoods, and the like. In my next post, I will report on some good news from India.