Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Glimpses of British Raj

This incident may not be an interesting one. After reading this story you may even question the validity of the title itself. Any way I am sharing this experience with you; before that I would like to ask one question to you. What is your opinion about the quality of public works at the time of 'British Raj'?

An interesting question? As most of us born after the days of Raj, we can only imagine the situation existing at that times from the stories of 'National Movement' and contemporary literary works.You may be wondering why I am suddenly talking about the days of Raj? OK, let me describe an incident.

Some days back I was on my way to a bus stand, on the the banks of famous Bharatapuza river(Second longest river in Kerala) to catch the very next bus to Thrissur. I took an auto for travelling the last ten minutes to the stand. Please note that in Kerala (at least in Palakkad district) for return autos charges are equal to that of bus fare. There were two more persons in that auto, one is close to 50-55 years old -wearing shirt and pant, other one is around 60-65 years old - white hair, wearing shirt and mundu. Frequent rains almost transformed the road to a small river, pot holes of varying depths are filled with brown coloured water. Pot holes thus formed in the middle of the roads are many times proved to be dangerous, especially for two wheelers, even for three wheelers these holes (filled with water) are posing considerable threat.

Suddenly the person sitting next to me started talking by comparing today's road construction with that of the Raj. Within no time the other one and the auto driver joined. None of them have any good opinion about today's road. Driver said that "Today's roads are like Jack fruits, when it is dry its OK, but at rainy season roads will torn open,like a Jack fruit". Suddenly the first one said roads were good at the time of British, now a days, its good for nothing in rainy season (Monsoon in kerala - from June to November).  I remembered last night's one hour long journey in state run KSRTC bus, if the road is in this state for some more time, then these buses will no longer be in the position to run. These roads will definitely increase the market for pain balms. Slowly we crossed the bridge across Bharatapuzha, after successfully escaping from several holes in the road.

This is not the first time I am hearing about comparison of the 'very high quality' works (especially public construction) after independence and that of Raj. There are decades old British bridges still in use whereas the one made recently fell down twice. If the government is not ready to improve the quality of works at the ground level, then the billions flowing-in for the infrastructure development will fill the deep pockets of the people who are pulling the threads instead of potholes in the ground.


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