It is a fact that the state of Delhi gets a serious dose of Dengue Fever every year from around July to end October with August to September being the worst period. Any sensible administration, in addition to routine preventive measures, should invariably plan an additional preventive drive prior to the onset of the dengue season. This means from middle of June onwards the administration must intensify its preventive measures on a war footing to ensure least impact of dengue or malaria. In addition the government authorities should have ensured regular dialogue with various medical associations, hospitals, social organisations and other similar bodies to seek help in preparing the state for meeting the challenge. The Aam Admi Party (AAP) Government in Delhi came to power in Delhi in February 2015 and therefore had ample time till end June to put a plan in action. The central government too did nothing to ensure that the state government was prepared to tackle the problem. Is it any wonder then that the city state is in all kinds of trouble today with no clue on how to address the problem? The AAP leadership starting with Mr Kejriwal (it also nearly ends with him unfortunately) have been busy confronting the centre, trying to play the game of one upmanship with the Lt Governor, blaming the municipal corporations and spending money on frivolous publicity campaigns to blow their own trumpet instead of worrying for the ‘aam admi’. Today, when things have gone out of control and public anger is rising, the state government is taking knee jerk measures that are unlikely to solve the problem. The central government, instead of working in tandem with the local authorities, is staying aloof and possibly smirking at the discomfort that AAP government is facing today.
The flavour of this season is something called One Rank One Pension (OROP) for ex-servicemen. Let me tell the nation that if Delhi had an administration comprising of military personnel (the ones who are seeking OROP), this situation would have never come. Such an administration (for ease of understanding we will call it OROP administration) would have tackled this recurring problem of dengue in the city state of Delhi by being proactive and taking following measures:
- Ensured preventive measures were put in action to counter dengue and malaria based on a yearly plan.
- Ensured extensive education of the people, both on preventive measures as well as on steps required to tackle the disease.
- Co-opted the involvement of various medical associations, hospitals and other such organisations to seek expertise and assistance in tackling the problem.
- Sought cooperation of NGOs, charitable institutions and other such bodies to augment the overall resources to educate people and prevent the spread of the problem.
- Intensified fumigation and cleanliness drives of areas where mosquito breeding could take place from June onwards.
- Ensured additional stocking of medicines required for treating the disease.
- Ensured increased availability of testing facilities across the city for the peak period from July to September including mobile testing vans.
- Taken steps to augment availability of beds in both government and private hospitals by early June.
- Developed temporary hospital facilities for dengue by developing temporary shelters at suitable locations in the city with all basic facilities in place.
- Planned for additional trained manpower to man the temporary hospitals from medical colleges, medical associations, qualified para medical personnel and by drafting final year medical students if required.
- Manpower could also be sourced from other states, where possible, on the principle of coming to each other’s aid when required.
- Ensured commissioning of already built, but not operational, hospital facilities within Delhi. There are two such major projects in Delhi as on date, one each in Janakpuri and Tahirpur that were completed more than five years ago.
This is how an OROP administration would have planned to tackle the recurring menace of dengue in the city. It is clearly not rocket science as is evident from the steps involved. Most of it is based on common sense and lessons learnt from previous years. All that is required is some organisational and leadership skills, a bit of planning and then proper execution without looking to score political points or blowing personal trumpets. It is also very obvious that one is not talking of an expenditure running to hundreds or thousands of crores. The money required for this plan would only be a fraction of the rupees 526 crores that Mr Kejriwal and his government have kept aside for publicity and promotion of AAP’s achievements for the current year. This is so because the OROP administration would have used public money for the public and not diverted public money to private money or for use of vested interests. On the other hand while people in Delhi are dying due to dengue, the governments, both at the centre and state, the municipal corporations and senior officers in the administration from the civil services at all levels are either just twiddling their thumbs or passing the buck with no one accountable or responsible for the mess.
The question here is why the civilian administration, comprising of elected politicians and elite civil services, so callous, unconcerned and incapable of doing even simple things. The answer is very simple. It is because first and foremost they lack nationalism, have no self pride and are not honest to their professions. Next, they do not have effective leadership that seeks and demands accountability which results in a weak organisation incapable of delivering results. Finally, most are selfish and work only if their vested interests are served. It is a well known fact that people in India do not join government service or politics because of any desire to serve the nation. Their reasons are far removed from these ideals as is well known to one and all by now. In such a scenario is it any wonder that most government servants and politicians rarely deliver for what they are tasked? Contrast this with that military man who joins the service first and foremost because it gives him an opportunity to serve the nation. From the day he joins he is ready to give the ultimate sacrifice for his nation and its people without any questions asked. He never complains of the hardships that he faces on daily basis. Instead he just goes about not only what he is tasked and trained for, but also to make up for all that his civilian counterparts fail to do for the nation. He also knows that he will be forced to retire at a young age, at times below forty years, at a time when the need for a secure job is all the more important for his family and other needs. Yet he continues to give his 100% for the sake of his country. Is it not a shame that such a man is being forced to fight for his basic right of OROP today after displaying exemplary patience and restraint for over forty years.
And behold my fellow citizens; most of these inefficient politicians and civil servants are eligible for OROP or similar schemes while they continue to grudge the same to the military man. Is this justice, please judge for yourselves.
Saroj Chadha, an engineering professional, is a successful entrepreneur. Having retired from the Indian Army after having served for over 23 years, he has also been a consultant for leading Indian and Multinational electrical companies. He lives in New Delhi.