ABOUT 500 WORDS: What will we do when potholes disappear?

Part of the ceiling falls at a metro station. “Not our fault,” says the BMRCL.

Yet another pothole claims yet another victim. “”Not our fault,” says the BBMP. “Driver’s fault,” says BMRCL. Don’t blame the innocent pothole, says the Chief Minister, or words to that effect.

The Bellandur lake is frothing again. “Not our fault,” says the government.

Remember that nursery rhyme? Who killed Cock Robin?/ I, said the Sparrow,/ with my bow and arrow,/ I killed Cock Robin.

That was written in the 18th century. The 21st century version seems to go: “Not I, said the _ (fill in as appropriate)”

The Centre for Media Studies says Karnataka is the most corrupt State in the country. We have been corruption-free and scam-free, none of us has gone to jail, asserts the Chief Minister. The implication is clear: We may or may not be corrupt, but we don’t get caught.

We live in a blameless society.

If Congress is in power, then everything is the BJP’s fault. And vice versa. We no longer have opposition parties. The opposition is the Ministry of Blame. Blame yesterday for today’s problems is the motto.

“We have only 15,928 potholes during our regime. The previous government had 15, 982,” says the ruling party.

“We travelled only to Europe on public money,” says the opposition, “while they went all the way to Australia.” It is difficult to tell whether they are complaining or expressing regret for not having thought of it first.

“Don’t bring politics into it,” says a politician – difficult to tell from which party, they all sound alike – “we sent our MLAs to a resort because they deserved it, not to keep them from jumping ship.”

And so it goes on. Bad roads are blamed on the rain, the rain is blamed on insufficient trees being cut, and that is blamed on misdirected activists who are blamed on the State’s prosperity that gives them little work to do; lack of work is blamed on the opposition’s economic policy, which is blamed on GST, which is blamed on inter-State movement of trucks, which is responsible for the bad roads, which are blamed on the rain….

‘There will be no power cuts this…” says the power minister, but we don’t hear “…year” because the mike falls silent owing to a power cut. Power is an aphrodisiac, said Henry Kissinger, but power cuts have traditionally been aphrodisiacs too.

Can’t wait for Tuesday, though. All 23,000 potholes (the figure having gone up since the last pothole census) will be filled by then, we are assured. A Minister makes a surprise midnight visit to a pothole. It is so hush hush that he is on live television telling us about it.

A smooth drive on Bengaluru roads could lead to accidents. Drivers who got their licences for their skill on potholed roads might have to get fresh licences to drive on smooth roads.

On second thoughts, the government might decide to retain the potholes after all. Better the known devil…

Suresh Menon is Contributing Editor, The Hindu

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Printable version | May 31, 2020 7:40:49 AM |

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