- It is becoming increasingly clear that the high and mighty have a way to not only subvert the prevalent law and order agencies from discharging their responsibilities but also brazenly stay untouched by the long arm of the law. There are infinite instances available denoting the abject failure of the justice delivery system to assuage the common citizens that the law of the land is equal without any prejudice at play. The equal rights guaranteed under the Constitution simply get overlooked as the available remedies play out in an entirely different manner. We know how affluent and influential persons receive preferential treatment as compared to common people who are made to run from pillar to post in search of justice.
PC: BALWANT JAIN
- The bane of the country is the all-pervading corruption that has permeated every walk of our life. We also know how the unholy nexus between the politicians-law enforcement agencies-businessmen-contractors and the ilk have contributed to the cancerous spread of corruption everywhere. The less said the better about the municipal bodies and the shoddy work these agencies undertake across the country under the patronage of the mentioned nexus. And the scenario repeats in a loop further exacerbating the suffering of the general public who might have lost precious lives and livelihood courtesy of the shoddy execution of work.
- The country was devastated when 135 people died last October when Gujarat’s Morbi footbridge collapsed five days after its post-renovation reopening. Needless to mention, lapses in both the work done by the contractors and its municipal oversight were glaring even in those first horrifying days when victims were being taken out of the Machchhu river. Three months on, officials’ intransigence is perhaps even more glaring. Morbi municipality has refused to respond to the state government’s show-cause notice. This is not even a political turf war as seen in Delhi when different parties have been running its state government and municipal bodies.
- In the Morbi municipality, all 52 councilors are from BJP. So where is their entitled pushback coming from? An obvious factor is the deeply entrenched absence of municipal accountability, which can be found nationwide. There are umpteen such instances. As for the contractors in the instant case, in which police have finally issued an arrest warrant against Oreva (Ajanta) promoter, what is indefensible is that they haven’t even been able to interrogate him in the intervening months. Recently, Ajanta admitted before Gujarat HC that some wrong was committed by it and offered to pay compensation to victims.
- But neither the municipality nor the contractor should be allowed to stall and sidestep penalties due as per the law. A forensic examination in November itself had found that the cables of the bridge were rusted, anchors were broken, and bolts connecting the two were loose. It made clear that the bridge contract had been given and executed dangerously. It’s imperative to break the nexus of corrupt municipal bodies and builders. And the best way to right it is to ensure exemplary punishment in high-profile cases like the Morbi tragedy. This way people’s confidence in the law of the land will be restored to a great extent.