I have no option but to walk along the pavement everyday beside the “metro taxi stand”. The metro taxis are Tata magic or similar vehicles all painted with pictures of prominent temples and other landmarks in Guwahati . The standardized painting on these vehicles is perhaps mandated by the government to promote tourism. But the taxi stand and the beautifully painted Tata magic vehicles are unlikely to contribute anything to the tourism initiative primarily for the stink caused by open urination by public near the metro taxi stand. Interestingly the location I am referring to is just within a radius of 500 meters of Assam state capital complex. The scenario only re confirms that the Government of India’s much touted flagship program “ Swachh Bharat Abhiyan “ is just a pipedream.
When the program was launched many ruling party workers were seen holding broomsticks and sweeping city lanes and by lanes. It was a nice symbolic gesture but the Abhiyan has not moved beyond symbolism. Meanwhile the government started collecting tax from public by way of “Swachh Bharat Cess”. But beyond government proclaimed figures of “ODF “regions and number of toilets constructed the daily experiences of a pedestrian should also be taken into consideration in reviewing achievements of the Abhiyan.
We have talked about tourism and to see Assam tourism flourishing the state run Assam State Transport Corporation will have to play its part. The present Transport Minister readily lists out corruption, inefficiency and bankruptcy in the corporation. But let’s not forget that a state run public transport entity is unlikely to be profitable in normal course. Let’s also not forget about the assets owned by ASTC in different places of Assam. But do we see any innovative steps by the government to utilize these assets ?
I am a frequent inter district traveler by public road transport. To see ruined ASTC buildings and badly maintained premises across towns is very depressing. In most cases parts of the ASTC premises are open toilets. “Disgusting” will be a mild word to describe the experience of visiting such open toilets out of helplessness as we have failed to construct dignified urinals and toilets even for travelers.