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When people’s aspirations are not met – What’s the use of having voting rights?

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TR Madhavan
Self employed, Social Service, Citizen Journalist, Blogger

Before and After announcement of election notification there is frequency appeal by all political parties “A Vote Gives Voice To People’s Aspirations – Do Cast Your Vote”. But, as a senior citizen and a registered voter am sorry to state “A Vote Suppresses Voice Of People’s Aspirations”. Booth wise results declaration give upper arm to the winner, all round development becomes mere slogan in those booth segments where the winner gets lesser percentage of votes and the voters are treated as OC.

Since more than a decade the governments in the under guise of liberalisation etc have become a commercial establishments as far as middle income group is concerned. They fill the pockets as well as squeeze the pockets by different means. The governments of the day are ready to change the policies and offer concessions to BPL and reserved categories as well as incentives to industries etc. But, when middle class seek any genuine waiver or relaxation, the government seldom remain non responsive ever after repeated pursuances.

Ours is a residential complex constructed and occupied in 2000. About 700 families belonging to low and middle income group and mostly come from a minority community. When inmate occupied the premises in 2000, there was no water supply in this locality. Water supply infrastructure was made available to locality in the year 2006 and that time itself the connection charges payable to the department were found to be unaffordable by the residents. The residents repeatedly requesting the successive governments to give relaxation on connection charges amounting to several lakhs and agreed to monthly consumption charges. Neither the elected representatives fought for the genuine cause nor government responded to the pleas.

After formation of new Telangana state the resident again wrote to the new government clearly stating our request as said to earlier governments. Without properly reading any representation the concerned Minister would inform the petitioner via email or letter about his/her instructions given to concerned department. Basing on his noting the water surveyed the locality and gave final feasibility report to their concerned committee for sanction of sanction. For this, they gave us an intimation letter amounts payable under various heads amounting to nearly ₹ 1.65 crores. We sought clarification and finally the board said relaxation sought needs the sanction of the government. The government till date has not told if relaxation can be given or it is under consideration.

From past 4 years we are facing water crisis for our day to day needs. Forced to buy bore water at a higher price from private suppliers like we are buying drinking water. Even after Member of Parliament writing to the government before 2018 assembly elections and present parliament election announcement government is silent on the issue. The summer is approaching and the private suppliers will shoot up their prices which will drain our pockets. When we are pursuing our case with the government the Model Code of Conduct has become a hurdle, like it happened last November.

The Consumer Protection Act, 1986, aims to promote and protect the rights and interests of consumers. Municipal services are currently not covered under this law. The parliamentary grouping 2007/2008 had recommended all mandatory municipal services, such as water supply, be included in the Act to ensure better services to consumers. Users have got different responses or no response to different sorts of complaints. Unlike deficiencies in goods, those aggrieved due to deficiencies in essential services don’t look for financial damages but redressal of the complaint, which they expect a court to deliver.

Politicians are held accountable for the decisions they make and policies they contribute. The fact is that you are electing a government to rule the country in a democracy. Since you too are a citizen of your country, you are actually electing your rulers/government by participating in the elections.

When a government/elected representative fails to consider the genuine plea for basic amenity like water or any other alternate arrangement for provision of it, what is use of having voting rights?

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TR Madhavan
Self employed, Social Service, Citizen Journalist, Blogger
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