The Governor has once again returned the Sakrama Bill. In any event, given the court case that is going on, any attempt by the government to circumvent the court was bound to land in trouble, so there’s not much point in the Governor also getting embroiled in it. Let’s face it – this Bill should be killed. It’s a bad idea, always has been. But more than that, we should now be thinking about a scarier proposition – we have reached the stage in our politics where it is difficult to do good things because our representatives are being elected on the basis of their ability to do / tolerate bad things !! Akrama-Sakrama is a great example of this.
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The correct way to tackle irregularities is to punish those who indulge in them. We have tried to get the easy way out by pointing to the large number of violations in the city, and arguing that it is impractical to set right such a large number. Is that really true? We need to ask ourselves this.
Second, every version of the Bill seeks to let off the officials who indulged in permitting the irregularities and made money off them. Even today, virtually every commercial complex that is coming up is – at the construction stage itself – clearly in violation of the bye laws. What are the different engineers and zonal commissioners doing about this? The Bill has no meaning if it does not also ensure an end to future violations.
The net result of all this is that we’ll keep going around in circles, and areas of the city that are clearly already in need of redevelopment (Begur Road, Banaswadi road, and many other arterially important paths) are held hostage to the ‘likelihood’ of Akrama-Sakrama Bill passing in the Assembly. What is more likely is that going forward, many of these areas will be neglected, resulting in unnecessary depression of their local economies, while the attention shifts to large developments outside the city. The ‘hollowing out’ of the city is the natural consequence of our inattention to its core.