A WORLD CLASS CITY – Before Greater Noida City disintegrates. An expression in words which is written in agony by Shantonu Sen
There was a capital that even a couple of centuries or two ago invited envy.When it was created it comprised a fort, a lovely canal apart from a walled city. Facing the fort was that lovely canal with little boats skimming the surface carrying people to the market and ferrying provisions and merchandise to the merchants.The shops were of colourful shapes and sizes teeming with buyers. Most elegant silk , fine , exotic and local gladdened the visitor. Delectable food preparations excited the taste buds . Perfume and incense buyers were always in their strength. This city grew and grew and grew breaking all bounds of stately growth and decorum. It broke the walls and spread to the south , the north and the west. The Jamuna river did not allow it to spread the east but now with bridges and roads breasting the river the east too is growing. The canal lost its lustre eons ago ,the water no longer shimmered in the sun. It became a dirty drain. It was covered and open to pedestrians Shops and more shops and then thousands more encroached more and more space to fashion degenerate concrete creations where ten thousand only , once, had lived their genteel lives. Crores live there now some in filthy squalor, a few in ghettos and a few in some what better surroundings.All without exception, suffer pollution, outages and water insufficiency.
The vast space inside the Fort, which housed the ruler, his immediate family, his military, his cabinet and all those who served the Emperor, was an extension of the luxuries , from all parts of the globe. The ramparts to the East had India’s great river gently, lapping as it flowed in great majesty. A huge moat protected it from marauders. On a clear crisp winter day watching it all from inside the marble palace with-in the fort with the meandering Jamuna serene and stately flowing below one was presented a picture of the world basking in tranquility and peace. The moat is now the pits, the gleaming marble is a dull grey and the Jamuna , now , no bigger than a canal , is miles away from the fort. Delhi of the Mughals, Delhi of the British and even Delhi of the early days of our Independence has long ceased to invite envy.
To get away from it all a world class city was planned 40 kilometers away , to the East of it across Jamuna. This city has all the external prerequisites that can transform it into a Singapore of India. On the drawing board since the 70’s it became a venure in the 90’s to invest and since then it has not looked back. It has the best roads, the best tree lined streets in India. An assured under ground functional sewerage system, under ground cables criss-cross the entire city for telephony, internet, gas and electricity. Signages are large, readily accessible and in Hindi and English. Shopping centres and community centres are located in each sectors. Malls aren’t too many. But enough for the population of about 5 lakh people who have today chosen to enjoy its pristine ozone free air and lovely parks that are in numbers in each community block. Parks occupy 60% space of this city!
The hope that this city will match the best in the world lives on but flickering doubts are there for all to see. Exponential growth of vehicles have thrown all existing parking norms into the dust-bin. The unplanned parking that clogs the markets is spreading its chaos on to the both the suburban and the main arterial roads . It ,the bedlam caused by selfish parking is now at all hours of the day. Traffic rules are set at naught blatantly. There is freedom to do so as there is no one to ask questions , ever. Power often disappears, at times in areas up to six hours in a day. Crime is rampant and rampaging. Not only murders and and physical assaults but housebreaking, robbery snatching, molestation of women take place day in and day out. Shoot outs in the market have recently occurred with uneasy frequency.Occasionaly an innocent bye-stander has been a victim. There is hardly any policing to prevent crime. Crimes that take place are not registered is also one persistent complaint. Neither prevent nor investigate any crime? Is this the motto of the of those who are vested with the authority of the Law, one is forced to wonder. The Police lay the blame on resource crunch, both in manpower and infrastructure. In sotto voice they whisper that crime in Greater Noida City is the regular past time of those who are the elected and their henchmem. The administration is supremely indifferent as power outages and crime spurts as they are to other civic woes of this beautiful city, They have their hands full selling land to money bags. The banal identities that mark/mar the once accident and crime free, free way that connects the city with the outside world are too many to list . The World Class City ,that is, Greater Noida City is disintigerating.