During his poll campaign Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi repeatedly promised to deliver minimum government and maximum governance. Does maximum governance include monitoring micro-governance? Does it provide a mechanism to ensure that in small day to day administrative actions authority behaves with requisite responsibility? This thought occurs after a recent event in the nation’s capital.
A slum colony, Rangpuri Pahari, in Delhi’s Vasant Kunj locality was razed to the ground by the state’s forest department to implement the orders of the Green Tribunal. Two thousand families living in makeshift tenements for past several decades were left without a roof on their heads in the severe winter cold. Women and small children will spend nights in the bitter cold out in the open without cooking or bathing facilities. Officials mechanically followed the rule book to bulldoze the slum without a care for its inhabitants. The forest department plans to plant trees in the area.
Could not authorities wait till the winter was over to carry out the demolition? Was it not incumbent on officials to ensure that displaced families were adequately rehabilitated in alternate camps before exposing them in this heartless fashion? Were these animals or Indian citizens being treated thus? Who was responsible for this action and who should be held accountable?
At this moment of writing no government leader has spoken up to condemn the action.
Delhi has a Lt-Governor presently in charge of the administration. There is an MP of the area where it happened. There is the Prime Minister himself and his army of central ministers under whose noses this event occurred. No leader has cared to intervene. Does the Union Cabinet Minister for Urban Development Mr. Venkaiyah Naidu approve this approach for developing a city? Mrs. Maneka Gandhi is Union Cabinet Minister for Women and Child Development. Does not her brief include protection of women and children? Can she not intervene to protect the women and children mercilessly treated by the government? Whether proper legal procedure and legal steps were followed before the demolition of the slum may also be questioned. Can residents inhabiting a locality for decades be rendered homeless without provision of alternate living facilities? If this can happen in the heart of the capital, how must it be all over India?
This writer has suggested several times that the President directly and through all the Governors of states accountable to him should be empowered with adequate staff to focus on accomplishing the single task of ensuring that every law of the land is implemented in letter and spirit. The President it was proposed should be the Super Lokpal of the nation to oversee implementation of all laws for which his office alone is constitutionally entrusted. If this proposal is unacceptable the Modi government should devise an alternate strategy to ensure that micro-governance protects the human rights of common citizens.
The nation does need development Mr. Prime Minister, but at whose cost?