Truth vs. Hype – Has Indore Really Progressed?

“Development” is no longer just one of the words written in the Oxford dictionary but has attained a significant position globally. Nowadays, everywhere we see people talking about development, whether it is personal, professional or related to their surroundings. We require it continuously because development is (in positive sense) related to the change and change is the only thing that is constant.  But, it is not necessary that every individual has the same idea or agree with the same parameters that measure development. It varies from person to person. For some it may be construction of roads or malls while for others it may be an installation of a hand-pump. With this perception in mind, people decide or rather appraise the work and conclude about the performance of the government.  I view it in a wider perspective and completely agree with the definition of development as stated by United Nations that says, “Development is to lead long and healthy lives, to be knowledgeable, to have access to the resources needed for a decent standard of living and to be able to participate in the life of the community”. Achieving human development is linked to a third perspective of development which views it as freeing people from obstacles that affect their ability to develop their own lives and communities. Development, therefore, is empowerment: it is about local people taking control of their own lives, expressing their own demands and finding solutions to their problems. Having said this, I present before you few things that I have witnessed in the span of 12 years in Indore:   State of Devi Ahilya University - I came to Indore in 2003 to take admission in one of the well renowned universities of Central India i.e. Devi Ahilya University (DAVV). It was quite weird for me to come to Madhya Pradesh for higher studies as the general reaction of friends and relatives was – why the hell are you going to a backward State for studies when there are other options available? The reason was simple – DAVV was known to impart quality education at nominal fees and offered chance for good placements. Moreover, the city was peaceful and full of potential. But in these 12 years, the level of education in the University has gone down and the situation has worsened. It has lost its glory and reputation owing to several factors such as internal politics, external or political interference etc. and the students continue to suffer. When the State has progressed in these 12 years, why the image of DAVV has plummeted?  State of Private Colleges – When the University is reeling under such situation, it is not difficult to imagine the condition of private colleges of the city. First of all, every year ‘n’ number of seats remain vacant in these colleges. Secondly, the level and quality of education imparted is unimaginably poor. Even an okay kind of job is a distant dream for students. On top of all this, the colleges unofficially employ “admission brokers”. Their work is to bring potential students from all over the State and upon admission these brokers get their “fees”. If this is how the education is being imparted, then what kind of development are we talking about? Liquor Trading – I was quite surprised to see that liquor trading was (and is) not only rampant but there were (and are) many places for people to get drunk, even in open! In these 12 years, the number of liquor shops in the city has increased exponentially. Shockingly, there are now 6 liquor shops around 0.5 Km radius of the University, which also includes many schools, colleges and hostels. The other day I was watching a debate on a News channel wherein BJP’s spokesperson Ms. Meenakshi Lekhi said that we are against liquor trading as it’s a poison for the society. Somebody please apprise her about the situation in Indore. In the other parts of the city, people had to fight with the traders and officials to shift these shops from the residential areas so that they can live a trouble-free life! The State government has filled its coffers with the revenue but we were talking about the development, right? State of District Hospital – District hospitals across the country are lifeline for the poor people. Here they get access to good medical facilities and are attended by senior and renowned doctors. At least this is what they (government hospitals) are intended to offer. But in Indore, MY Hospital has become synonymous to dirt, filth, mismanagement and complete chaos. On September 6, 2015, Dainik Bhaskar published a story that said Madhya Pradesh has worst medical facilities. When you can’t even streamline the functioning of a hospital in 12 years and failed to provide proper medical facilities, where is the development? BRTS – The name in itself is sufficient to anger any Indori (people of Indore). The government took more than 6 years to construct it and today the whole idea behind the project has been rejected by the experts and the High Court. It has become an epitome of poor planning and complete mismanagement. More unfortunate is the truth that many people lost their lives during the construction work because of careless attitude of the authorities. In all, a terrible failure! What kind of development is this when you can’t even plan and execute the things? MPPMT Scam – Well, the whole world now knows Vyapam scam and my head hangs in shame. Indore is known as an “educational hub” but Vyapam scam, DMAT scam, Scholarship scam have unearthed a gory story. Anyone with deep pocket can buy a medical seat and become a doctor. Moreover, it is a blot on the pious profession. Even the education minister was arrested for his involvement. So, where is the development of 12 years? Illegal Medical Tests on Patients –Some renowned doctors of Indore colluded with the pharmaceutical companies and tested their medicines on patients illegally i.e. used them as guinea pigs. This case was not only shocking but also reminiscent of an under-developed place, let alone the development. Crime Rate – In these 12 years, Madhya Pradesh has topped the list of States with highest crime rate and predominant among them are Indore, Bhopal and Jabalpur, all developed cities of the State! Is this the price we have paid for blindly trusting the so-called development?  Indore is known as the “commercial capital” of Madhya Pradesh and on the other hand boasts of rich culture and heritage. If this is what the most important city of the State got from the BJP government, you can’t even imagine the condition of other places. The government failed on all the basic parameters of the development i.e. education, health, infrastructure and safety and that too within the most developed city of the state. I have a question for the state government - what according to you people is the definition of development and progress? I and millions of people are eager to know your answer.
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