The tyranny of development

Karanvir Gupta
In so competitive times when we as a nation are racing to be No.1 in everything, the development and its pace gain undue importance from all spheres of life: financial, political and bureaucratic levels. In our state the state of affairs seems to be little more emphatic. Undoubtedly, the paying capacity of common populace has increased over the period of time. And so does the quality of material they consume. Clothes – Check; Cars – Check, Vilas – Check. And without denying the fact that consumption in no terms is bad for the economy as a whole and is a gateway to healthy cycles of economy.
What saddens me is why this development is so much at individual level and not at the community level. We seem to forget I suppose time and again, it is the community that transcends development and growth and not an individual. Individual though remains the contributor in the whole process. Roads – Uncheck, Traffic – Uncheck, Parking Lots – Uncheck, Hygiene – Uncheck, Culture – Uncheck: my question is where are we heading to?
If what we are doing right now is the so called development, I am sorry to say it is – in plain terms – greed, where we are bothered about our personal gains and growth but to the community we give a damn. While I was there in state for quite a few days, I saw unregulated traffic, people breaking traffic rules rampant and we have nothing to keep all this in check.
Of late, there have been so much construction and it again seems to be all unregulated. I am not sure if it’s the Secretariat movement that made Jammu look over crowded or people are being thrusted into the city for some reason. This will further cause the problem of resource scarcity after all we have limited resources being shared by greater number of people.
The problem with the development is that we as citizens start believing that more the cement and concrete available at roadside, more the development. And we do not bother to enter into the intricacies of the matter.
I somehow feel we as a nation have always been reactive but if we really look forward to be No.1 I guess it’s time we become proactive. It is important that urban development and planning is done properly taking into the consideration the expected population, traffic and load on resources atleast 2 decades down the lane.
Secondly, it becomes important that all the three regions of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh are developed in equity so that it doesn’t causes unnecessary burden on either. Along with, the rural planning should be done now so that by the time those areas start getting saturated or devoid of facilities, we have solutions at place. (be it education, entertainment, health or any basic amenities). Thirdly, I believe, this constant secretariat movement is not only a burden on the development but also on the financial muscle of the state and steps should be taken to tactfully integrate this into the development plan.
Next I would like to highlight the fact that there seems to be least importance given to development in terms of cultural enhancement. It is high time we glorify the City of temples with great tourist attractions wherein we integrate our cultural legacies. Har Ki Pauri is one such example but it also needs lot of improvement in terms of maintenance and accessibility. We need to develop more such places which have significance and will attract people to not only visit but to contribute too. Lastly, we should ensure that development work in one sector doesn’t impedes development work in other sectors.We are doing really good at an individual level but yet we need to develop at the societal level and it has to start soon before we fall into the trap. Or else the tyranny remains the one sided perspective of development!
(The writer is a student at Indian Institute of Management Shillong)