Monday, May 29, 2006

Poor civic sense puts ‘City of future’ in doom’s way

Poor civic sense puts ‘City of future’ in doom’s way
Vijay Times

Bangalore: Blame it on authorities! Bangloreans seem to have learnt the art well. In this take-off on a Hollywood blockbuster, where the sins and predilections of the sinners are conveniently charged upon someone else, citizens of Bangalore do not seem to be far behind when it comes to blaming authorities for just about anything.

In such a scenario, grand dreams of making Bangalore a world class location may be just that! A dream! Huge fund allocations to implement plans, in the hope of giving concrete shape to Bangalore of the future, may be going down the drain. This, because Bangaloreans exhibit poor civic sense and exhibit utter lack of public discipline.

Accidents at signals-blame the authorities. Accidents at nightblame the authorities. Animals on roads-blame the authorities. Dirt all around-blame the authorities. The list will keep flowing...

While criticising authorities for lack of effective enforcement to ensure public discipline appears a popular pass-time, the hypocrisy around just cannot be missed. For, would it not be easier for authorities to enforce rules if the citizenry, which engages in such criticism, shows more wisdom and displays better civic sense? Spend a day on the roads of the City. The reality cannot be missed. Violation is so rampant that an odd stickler to laid-down rules is seen as one who is the actual violater of rules.

One cannot blame the government for not providing facilities to make it easy for the people to follow rules.

Take traffic for example: The Traffic Department has erected digital countdown traffic signals at almost all major City road junctions. This is for motorists to know when to start vehicles. Sadly, motorists accelerate even before red turns to yellow and many, even before the countdown reaches 10.

The result? Chaos! And the blame? Squarely put by the citizens on the government, which in turn, lays out grand plans on drawing boards, even as effective enforcement remains absent.

Lack of a collective will among citizens is truly striking when it comes to following road discipline, knowing it would solve half the problems without the need for enforcement.

Urinating and defecating in public places continues unabated. What are the Nirmal Sauchalayas, dotting the Cityscape, for? And about spitting and littering without a care in the world, the less said the better.

The police and the City Corporation are empowered to take action against violators through the Karnataka Police Rules, but they seem helpless given the expanding army of violators. It may take years for plans for a clean and green Bangalore with no congestion, to materialise, but now is the time for citizens to understand this -- developing a civic sense and discipline has to precede implementation of grand plans.

Or should Bangalore do a Surat (remember the plague was due to lack of civic sense there) to make us realise our folly?


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