Chennai is recovering now. For two weeks, the city had been hit by the heaviest rainfall it had seen in a hundred years. And this was enough to bring it down. Not only was the city flooded, but it was also totally cut off from the rest of the nation. And while the state government itself failed miserably to handle the crisis, it was the common people, the citizens, who handled the crisis and saw the city through. The deluge was proof enough that climate is changing.
India is witnessing multiple migrations that are unprecedented in its history. Millions are moving into literacy, similarly staggering numbers are migrating out of poverty and malnourishment, thousands are migrating to the IT world, and several millions are moving to urban centres.Blaming excessive rain or unauthorised construction for the latest misery is a very lazy analysis, ignoring the significant contribution of government institutions and political masters to the mismanagement of Chennai, and other cities. The adverse role played by them in creating havoc has grave security implications for the country at various levels.
Further North, another city, the capital New Delhi is putting together a plan to control its own ridiculous pollution levels. From 2016, Delhi will implement a new rule to make sure private cars with odd and even number registration numbers get to drive in the city on alternate days. On one hand this decision is now being ridiculed on social media , logic dictates that right now any plan is a good plan. The time to think up and come up with a grand plan is long gone, and even the courts are getting in line to support the government move, dismissing PILs against the new law.
Check out Chennai's pollution levels in real time.
And my own city of Bangalore is far better than Delhi.
But what surprised me was that most cities in developed countries were much better off than us. Check out New York.