There were times ... !
There were times when each of Nagpur’s main streets was washed with water at least three days of the week even in summers when water-levels in lakes used to be depleted. That fragrance of the wet streets still lingers in the nostrils well after 60 years. There also were times when the city really, really was a clean place with garbage neatly deposited at the garbage depot on the Amravati Road (where Patrakar Sahnivas now stands). So well managed was that place that the thousands of passers-by did not suffer the stench (which is now the usual experience near Bhandewadi garbage dump).
There were times when the Nag River had a reasonable flow of clear and a clean water almost all the 12 months of the year. In those days, men and kids were seen swimming at several spots in the Nag River. Some of the favourite spots included the Sangam in Sitabuldi, the back of Maharajbagh Gardens and Zoo, behind Saraswati Vidyalaya in Shankar Nagar, near the Ambazari overflow point. Several such spots were used for the swimming activity in the eastward sections of the Nag River.
There were times when each of the dispensaries of the Nagpur Municipal Corporation was treated with a lot of respect since doctors and paramedics there took their work seriously. There were times in Nagpur when people -- like my medical doctor parents -- sent their kids to the municipal schools since the quality of teaching was really praiseworthy. There were times ...... That is a very long list, of course! Nothing of these now is available in the city. There, of course, is a fairly convincing reason for the missing comforts and facilities: Population has grown manifolds.
The city, too, has expanded beyond measure... The list of excuses, too, is long, so to say. But nothing convinces people like me. No excuse sticks. For, if the city has expanded and grown, the municipal corporation, too, has grown in its organisational size and revenues. But also along with that expansion of the civic body has grown the overall inefficiency for which there could be no excuse. There is no doubt that the city still has many plus points (which is why people still like the place). But there also is no doubt that our civic authorities do not have the skill and the will to preserve and protect the city’s plus points. And let me assert that this is not an uninformed criticism of the authorities.
This is an assertion by a journalist of a long standing of 50-plus years in the field watching the civic affairs from close quarters. If I have seen the glorious parts of public affairs sixty years ago, I now see the inglorious part as well in fair detail. And I am not charmed. Much to the contrary, I am harmed in body and in mind. For, I am required to live in a polluted city whose livability index is constantly sinking, no matter what the officials would say in their own defence.
I am also required to live in a city in which public hospitals are being shunned by increasing numbers of people, thanks to mismanagement and lack of professionalism. There are many, many, many points that cause me a spiritual hurt as well when I come across all the time situations and conditions that point to decay in the overall quality of public affairs. And that is the reason why I feel saddened every time I loose-foot around the city.