Lucknow : Residents of the Manyawar Kanshiram Colony in Lucknow are facing brunt of government neglect as they struggle for basic amenities including road, water and sanitation. The locality has been experiencing a harrowing time with the poor quality of the road that connects Kanpur Road to the colony. This 500-meter stretch is a glaring epitome of the insensitivity of the concerned authorities towards public issues. Reeling under government apathy, the locals have had no respite for over ten years now, as the worn-out and bumpy condition of the road renders it almost unusable.
The road poses extreme difficulty, especially to the residents of the colony, who have no alternative route to traverse. It is lamentable to witness the residents maneuvering through uneven and wavy surfaces on their two-wheelers, making for an excruciating and hazardous ride.
Remarkably, when The Mooknayak went there to witness the deplorable situation, the only vehicular prospect we spotted was an e-rickshaw. The irony of the situation was that it bore banners supporting the municipal corporator candidate of the rulling party, the BJP. Despite playing tailor-made election songs to rally support, the candidate was noticeably absent, underscoring the perilous state of the road and the general apathy of politicians towards the struggles faced by the residents of Manyawar Kanshiram Colony.
A revolutionary initiative in bad shapes
The brainchild of former UP Chief Minister Mayawati, the Manyawar Shri Kanshiram Shehri Awas Yojana was a revolutionary initiative aimed at providing affordable housing to the urban poor without any prejudice towards their caste or religion. Under this scheme, housing colonies were established to offer free ownership of quarters to the underprivileged demography. This path-breaking initiative was one among the various visionary schemes introduced by the BSP government between 2007 and 2012, setting an excellent precedent for providing social welfare through fair and equitable means. It was so impressive that the governments that followed, including Samajwadi Party and the Bharatiya Janata Party, recognized its success and efficiency, resorting to it as a model for providing residences to the urban poor.
No visits by representatives after winning election
Rajesh Gautam, who has been a resident of the colony for the past seven years, observed that two-wheeler riders have to face numerous problems navigating the worn-out and bumpy stretch of road. Gautam laments that even during emergencies, like transporting sick patients to the hospital, residents cannot take the route as it poses a significant risk, apart from inflicting further damage on vehicles. He blames the Samajwadi Party and Bhartiya Janata Party governments for having discriminated against Manyawar Kanshiram Colony due to its majority Dalit population. Gautam alleged that selected public officials, like the Municipal Corporator or local representatives, have never visited the area after securing election wins. Even elected Members of Parliament and Members of Legislative Assembly, affiliated with the Bhartiya Janta Party, have ignored the area's distressed condition, further exacerbating the plight of the already marginalized residents of the colony.
Neglected governmental responsibility
Manyawar Kanshiram Colony is grappling with multiple issues, the most pressing of which is the scarcity of water, according to resident Bindu Kanojia. Handpipes in the area have been malfunctioning, necessitating residents to rely on tankers during water outages. Additionally, there is a potential hazard ignored by the local authorities, as Gopal Shukla warns. In the nearby park, the sewage tank records the accumulation of flammable gases, which could trigger an explosion if they discharge improperly. Both risks link to the overall apathy of the concerned authorities towards the plight of the residents of Manyawar Kanshiram Colony. The locals remain helpless, which is not just an issue of inadequate resources but also one of neglected governmental responsibility for their safety and wellbeing.
Gopal Shukla highlights yet another issue that the residents of Manyawar Kanshiram Colony have to bear. The already damaged road is their only feasible route, and the barricading of alternate paths by neighboring colonies has made reaching their destination even more challenging. This impasse means that residents have no choice but to navigate the treacherous road daily, subjecting them to further risks. The problem becomes more severe for differently-abled citizens, like Roopa Devi Shukla, who traverse the area in her tricycle. Roopa Devi Shukla further adds that sometimes, her tricycle overturns on the damaged road, spelling severe danger. The lack of attention paid towards maintaining alternative routes by the neighboring colonies is yet another testimony to apathy and neglect by the concerned stakeholders, leaving the residents of Manyawar Kanshiram Colony in appalling conditions.
Nitu Sonkar, the owner of a vegetable shop in the area, laments that the residents cannot even depend on the Municipal Corporation to clean the sewage tanks in the colony. She cites the accumulation of sludge in the sewers, emphasizing that the residents themselves have to remove it as the authorities remain indifferent to the situation. This severe lack of public services in the area leaves the residents with no alternative but to address local issues themselves. Instead of providing basic civic amenities, the authorities have left the residents at the mercy of circumstances. The need for residents to take matters into their own hands further adds to the burdens faced by the already struggling inhabitants of Manyawar Kanshiram Colony.
Shifting responsibilities ?
Ram Naresh Rawat, the outgoing Municipal Corporator representing the Bhartiya Janta Party, dodges the allegations of neglect by blaming the problem on higher authorities in the Nagar Nigam and the Forest Department. Rawat emphasizes that his tenure ended in January, and since then, the Nagar Nigam has taken over, so they are responsible for managing the problems now. Pressed further on the condition of Manyawar Kanshiram Colony's roads, Rawat clarifies that the road is the responsibility of the Forest Department, and it is a matter concerning higher levels of governance. Rawat's response is indicative of the prevailing attitude among former and current elected representatives, who resort to shifting the responsibility instead of addressing the issues faced by the residents.
Sunny, a young man in his twenties, provides a valuable perspective on the neglect of the colony. He notes that all the elected representatives in the area come from the ruling party, and hence the argument that issues related to public amenities are higher-level problems does not hold. He further adds that Mayawati, also known as Behenji, allocated the project for the urban poor, irrespective of caste or religion. However, other parties seem to have misinterpreted the colony as being exclusively inhabited by Dalits, which could be the reason for its sustained neglect. This stigma attached to the colony, irrespective of the true representation of people residing here, furthers the apathy towards the residents' plight, highlighting how societal biases translate into government inaction.
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