Private Wealth Public squalor – Sanjaya Baru

“The initiative for empowerment of local government will have to come from state governments and through public pressure from below”.

You don’t have to travel very far from the epicentre of power in India to grasp the challenge of urban governance. Take a walk to Delhi’s hip and happening Khan Market. Watch the BMWs squeeze their way in, and the glitzy crowd walk quickly from chauffeur-driven car into fancy restaurant or fancier boutique, noses covered with handkerchief!

There is no experience more sobering for the perfumed than a walk down the inner lane of Khan Market — it stinks. Khan Market has become the latest metaphor for private wealth and public squalor in urban India.

If New Delhi’s central government is unable to address the challenge of urban governance next door, and is not willing to empower the chief minister of Delhi, forget about the titular mayor of Delhi, how can one expect a new 74th Constitution amendment bill type of intervention to make a difference to urban governance, when the old one has made hardly any difference to rural governance?!    Sanjaya Baru-Private Wealth Public squalor.

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  • Cyril Balkaran  On 10/02/2012 at 3:08 am

    The stench emanating from the Khan’s Market in New Delhi is not only unique to the Indian Capital but to many other cities in the world. It is the duty of the Market Clerk to ensure the optimum sanitation is available at all times. The fish and meat sections of the market must be thoroughly washed and kept at all times to prevent rodents and vermins in the same areas. The washing ensures no scents are pungent at the end of the day. The market by laws are enforceable by the town clerk and so private or public the required standards must be enforced at all times. The public health standards are failing as we write and matters of great public health importance are being swept under the proverbial rug!

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