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Beyond the glittering perception...
Are skyscrapers the ideal benchmark to define development?
It is said, “All that glitters, is not gold.” But there are people of wisdom with holistic views, who believe the opposite. So, if New York City’s skyline glitter over the shore at night, wisdom says it is the 24 carat gold that is shining. The rich New York has a coterie of rich friends apart from her American brothers. Whether it is Big Ben, Eiffel Tower or Monorail, these shining princess’ privilege and position draws adulation and idolatry from millions across the world while Indians dream that their cities draw same kind of admiration as our Western counterpart. Yet, Mumbai (India’s commercial capital) is simmering under grave infrastructure problems. As much as 54% of Mumbai’s population lives in slums, making it maximum in Asia. India’s capital, Delhi, has a figure of 20%. The living condition in these vast urban ghettos is pathetic to say the least with nest of 100 sq. ft. of thatched hut with no sanitation, no sewage and extremely poor drainage system. The roadways in Mumbai (albeit concrete) are below par because of poor maintenance and misappropriation of funds.
Delhi on the other hand has tar roads – but well maintained, compulsively done being the capital. Kolkata has tar roads too, but not well maintained at all, for decades now. Both Mumbai & Delhi has shortage of power creating frequent power cuts – unheard of in developed economies. Does London have beggars in the streets? Not many. Neither there are too may in Paris. But Mumbai boast of three lakhs, and Delhi have 58,000 on their streets. So behind the shining mask of Indian cities, lies ugly face of poverty, malnutrition, lack of social infrastructure and most importantly, hope for the future. Unless these factors are addressed and solved the glossy face of ‘India Shining’ cannot be sustained over a long period of time.
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