Have I figured out what is really wrong with this country?
While the naysayers amongst you would be rubbing their hands with glee at the prospect of finding yet another thing to crib about, I’ll be one with the optimists on this one. Finding out what is wrong doesn’t always lead to whimper about the issue. It helps us to recognize the problem, isolate it and then duly work on it.
In any case here goes. The Gurgaon-Delhi toll was supposed to the final word in managing traffic. It was that gilded thought which would set us on the road to growth. This was the kind of road that the Indian tiger was supposed to run on and beat the bejesus out of the Chinese dragon.
That didn’t happen. It did make the journey to Delhi a little better but that’s just about it. The point of getting to the toll and the stretch after that is all fine and one really enjoys driving on it. The real issue, the toll plaza is still a mess.
There is chaos and it’s been almost eight months since it started operating. I understand that there is huge traffic that is tackled every day and that thing would take a while to set in. This is a state as well as National Highway and hence the sheer volume of traffic could drive you nuts. But wasn’t that the great idea? Why is it that the people ‘operating’ it still allow cars without the electronic tag to ‘accidentally’ enter the tag only lane? The lane is supposed to offer wait less travel but...on top of that the road in itself is nothing short of a video game from the 1980’s. People cross the road at will and you, at 120 kms/hr, are supposed to keep an eye for them!
All this is fine. As Indians we are well equipped to deal with this mess on not only the nation’s but also one of Asia’s largest toll plaza which boasts of 32 lanes. We will buy toll tags which are supposed to electronically lift the barriers and drive in the sunset or away from it depending on which side you approach the toll from. But what we will not understand is that what the hell is a private cab doing in tag lane and delaying everyone by dishing out money in moneyless lane!?
You buy a tag to avoid scenes like this...but...
Why don’t the builders fine people who enter wrong lanes? Charge them hundred bucks instead of the seventeen and see how the word spreads. No one will make that mistake twice. Keep a police van stationed and anyone who refuses to pay can reason it with people who are on the right side of the law. Actually you don't really need someone to man a tag booth. But that won’t happen now…will it?
Ladies and gents I have deterred too far from the original hook of this post. I have, I think I do, discovered what the hell is really wrong with this country? Once I was made to wait endlessly in a tag lane. When my turn finally came I stopped at the booth and tried talking to the person inside. He was not on his chair, he was perched on his desk and his feet were resting on the chair. Why you ask? Well this being cashless lane, he didn’t expect tagless people so he was resting. I inquired of him that why don’t they do something with people who wander into wrong lanes? I urged him to think of supposedly smarter people, like yours truly, who paid money upfront and bought tags. He told me, ‘Did we ask you to buy a tag?’
Of course he hadn’t.
His implied that we bought the tag now we should just deal with it. Maybe this is it. In India that is what works. If you are in the right, that’s really your problem. The whole Tata-Mamta-Nano-Buddhadeb issue reiterated this sad truth. Things inherently are skewed here and on top that such attitude. Think about it. This toll road is an old road which has been blessed with flyovers so why are people charged to use it? The Delhi-Noida DND taking money is understandable for it was a new road made especially for the purpose that it serves. If a person has to go from Dhaula Kuan to Dwarka or the airport isn’t required to pay then how come a commuter from Gurgaon going the same distance is charged for it?
But with deadlines to meet and life to be lived…who the hell has the time to figure it out?
And after all they never asked you to buy a tag, now did they?