Thursday, August 14, 2014

My City, My Country!

You will ever remember that all the End of study is to make you a good Man and a useful Citizen...John Adams.

John Adams was the second president of the United States, having earlier served as the first vice president of the United States. I am always fascinated by the quotes especially from the people who were & are at the positions from where they could or they have changed the course of the history or made one by themselves! US president is surely one such post & who better than a person at this post can write about the citizenship. All over the world people are curious & fascinated by the country which actually has never been ruled by any neither has ruled any other country, yet their culture , way of living & attitude towards the nation or the city they live in has been the matter of study for many!
Pertaining to our today’s topic i.e. my city, the quote from the US president has such a depth as how many of us have understood the importance of being useful citizen? 

Many will wonder as usual where the topic is going but in the crowded front page with news about Metro  mess or road potholes & public transport chaos, one small news rather an appeal by the local body i.e. PMC has gone unnoticed by many. It was a about participation of the citizens in the annual budget of PMC regarding the works around our neighborhood in the jurisdiction of PMC i.e. Pune Municipal Corporation, a public body which is supposed to keep this city in good shape. As usual not many must have noticed it but it is very important step by the PMC & its nearly fourth year of such it making such appeal to the citizens. We are very much eager to criticize organizations like PMC which are public bodies & we need any reason for that, right from over flowing garbage bins to potholes on roads, when ever PMC fails to deliver  every segment from the society, right from politician to media all are ready to throw stones at PMC!  But at the same time conveniently we forget our role or our responsibility towards the city as or else the very members of the PMC i.e. corporaters would have shared rather promoted this news to their voters. As well the media which is all aware about the rights of citizen & which lashes out PMC for every failure, would have on their own given publicity for the heartwarming appeal to the public to participate in various works which the city needs.

We often meet people who complain that there are so many things which are needed to do around where they live, work & Govt does nothing. May it be damaged footpath or a stinking public lavatory or roads without divider or a need of speed-breaker on a heavy traffic road or road signage’s or trees to be planted, a public garden or a bad maintained natural water body like nallah or a lake in our back yard & the list goes on! I often wonder when we Indians are so keen about maintaining d├ęcor & ambiance of our homes or offices why we turn a blind eye towards the outside of our work place or our home. Here we shrug our shoulders & say what I can do? Its job of PMC, don’t I pay my property tax & income tax? Well, is it enough to call ourselves a responsible citizen? When we call an organization like PMC as public body we conveniently forget that we are the public & unless we share our responsibility towards our city, just PMC isn’t going to be sufficient for the mammoth task of keeping this city in good condition!

Though rather than just appealing people abruptly for their opinions about the works in their surrounding, PMC can take a much better stand by sending a detailed form with lists of works the citizens can suggest along with the property tax bills they send. This will ensure two things one the citizens will get a clear idea about the type of works that needs to be undertaken & a message will be sent that a tax payer is entitled to suggest these works as his right by paying the tax to the local body. Also this will be then a much better systemized effort as the data also can be gathered proper format as well in advance to budget. As just publishing in a news form, it may not reach to the masses & then people should know in which format they have to fill the information & where this information has to be submitted & what happened to my suggestion i.e. feedback system is not there right now.

All the best cities in the world are not better places to live just because of the rich structures or advanced systems they have like Metro or Escalators; but they are good cities because the citizens in these cities consider the city as their own & assist the local bodies to maintain the city. Right from segregating the wet & dry garbage to maintaining traffic discipline by not jumping unmanned signals, many things we can do for the city. And it’s the small efforts by every individual towards the city is what makes a city good!

This year we will be celebrating our 68th Independence Day but have we really understood what independence is! As we still feel everything out of our home & office isn’t our duty! We call it public property & say Govt will take care of it & we conveniently forget that’s the Govt is us only! We are required to tell us what our rights are & what our responsibilities towards the city in which we live & we say we are proud citizen of the free India! If we can’t give justice to simple things like participating in making our city better then what we are going to do for the country? We can’t even segregate dry & wet garbage which is being generated in our own house & expects Govt to do it & yet give you a clean city! Unless it’s no rains we don’t curtail water use which can be a life for many who always have lesser supply of water down the river. We jump the signals which are unmanned & then we expect the Govt to provide camera on the roads to monitor the traffic! 

We always think a miracle will happen & all will be good but we forget that even the freedom wasn’t a miracle but it’s the public which made it possible. Same way our city which is detirerioting fast, won’t be saved by any PMC or some good commissioner or one officer or a leader but its duty of each of us who calls themselves Punekar!

For developers also it’s a warning as I repeatedly say, it’s because this city is good so people are buying homes to settle for their future in here. So it’s our duty too, to keep the city in best condition & that too from the eyes of a common man & not just from our ivory towers! The developers should make their clients aware about every such news & guide them to participate in such moments, remember when we call ourselves developers; it’s the entire society we are supposed to develop & not just few hectors of our own land! Or else one day there will be nothing left to appeal such will be the condition of the city & we only will be responsible for that day!

Sanjay Deshpande

Sanjeevani Dev.

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