Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Open air toilets- Shooting the breeze

The above link takes you to a piece on the lack of sanitation facilities in India. I grew up for most part of my life in a chawl in Mumbai. We had three families on the floor sharing one toilet. We were amongst the better off chawl people.

At Chennai, where I now live, the city has grown with total absence of any kind of town planning. Apart from the old city which ends at Adyar at South Chennai, there is now sewage line. There are soak pits which have to be frequently emptied in to trucks which cart the load away and dump it in to the Bay of Bengal.
I think India will NEVER change in this respect. Town planning will be always absent. Politicians will rape the real estate in cahoots with the builders. Why can we not move to a simple system of not giving building permits without the infrastructure in place first?
At Chennai, for new buildings, one is supposed to pay an infrastructure fee @Rs.100/- per sq ft. This is simply an additional payment to the local body and no return benefits are assured for this money.
I do not see any politician with the will to put things right. There used to be a builder in Chennai called Alacrity, who had to wind down since he did not believe in paying bribes and also insisted on all the workers who worked in the building industry to be eligible for all benefits like provident fund etc,
I think that the biggest enemies of India (outside the elected officials and government servants) are the builders.

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