Monday, April 15, 2024

System rots

It is a fact that in the course of administration and governance, citizens often tend to feel aggrieved, and denied their due if justice is delayed or denied. Hence submitting complaints or grievances to such authorities for redressal encompasses receipt of complaints, processing them and not only action taken but such action duly conveyed to the complainant. It could not be the end of the story in most of the cases and this process involves time, follow-up and even other means extraneous to the devised procedures. The need is felt to have a direct interaction with the concerned officers in order to speed up the process and perhaps ensure that on the spot decisions are taken unless precluded by such provisions of the prevailing system or law which come in between. To ensure that grievances of the people are duly heard and proper decisions taken, the administration must take steps to listen to public grievances, maybe at least once a week. Generally, follow up measures of such initiatives are too poor to elicit or reap the desired results in order to win the confidence of the people in respect of an administrative system which really delivers and works satisfactorily. Evidently, the word ‘disposal’ of grievances used by most departments here simply connotes receipt of complaints and their transmission to the concerned departments for the needful, without monitoring their follow up action in real practice. In fact, governance in general is elusive, perhaps for the decade-old conflict, misplaced State priorities, decelerating institutions, diminishing public faith, endemic corruption and the like system rots. For palpable breach in the social contract, the State structures are unresponsive to the public urgencies. Reality is that governance has taken a back seat here. The various bans imposed by the State, like liquor ban, polythene ban, etc and the massive availability of the same here are self-explanatory. Public spaces, roads, lanes, by-lanes, pavements, river and stream-beds are recklessly occupied and misused by vendors, grocers, retailers, wholesalers and others. While they hold no regard to the ethical and moral values, the State machinery is defunct to stop it either. The people are naturally subjected to the recurring landslides and traffic jams here, there and everywhere, indicating as if the State is not in place. The arable land is fast diminishing due to road widening and constructions. Neither protective nor alternative measures are operational, which tends to marginalize the State’s self-sufficiency on the one hand and enhance its dependence on imports from other. Similarly, our traditional crafts, wood carving, shawl, etc., are precipitously perishing for changing market forces and the State’s failure to translate their protective ordinances into real practice. Thousands of customary artisans and crafts men are turning jobless for what many perceive as the misgoverned or failing, if not the failed, State. Will the Government do something special for their enduring sustenance? The level of public-services delivery is poor. The city roads are pathetic due to the wholesome drains, dents and ditches. Power cuts continue. The infrastructure of the Power Department is too weak to resist ordinary rains, downpours is too distant. The on-road power transformers are thoughtlessly exposed. Market dynamics exhibits ailments. Inflation rate is high. Market regulations being virtually in-operational, commodity prices are not determined by normal supply-demand factor but rather by the whims and wishes of the stockists. The oft-recurring Dimapur-Kohima or Jorhat-Mokokchung highway blockades due to landslides and artificially-created scarcity of the commodities does the rest. Poor quality goods are sold at high prices and the adulteration level in various commodities is on the steep rise for institutional apathy. No regular checks are in place to weed out spurious medicines, eatables, and drinks from the market. Checking squads are rarely seen, leaving thereby the vendees at the mercy of the vendors. Financial accountability and system transparency is deficient. We are infamously one among the top most corrupt Indian states. Governments of all shades have shown no serious interest to reduce its extent in recruitments, appointments, constructions, industries, subsidies and other service sectors. The number of scams speaks volumes about the unscrupulous state of affairs here. Will the present dispensation undo the system rots or leave it for the future governments to account for?