A newly married couple, with an unmistakable look of an affluent background and also well-heeled, arrive at a luxurious resort at a hill station. While showing the deluxe room to the couple before taking leave of them, while wishing happy times during their stay the caretaker of the resort did not forget to impress on them the need to be frugal in using water with the message: Don’t consume water like you spend your money. As this episode and the caretaker’s hint to the couple may not alert anybody this monsoon season in our region, thanks to copious rains overfilling the reservoirs, this column dwells on money and unbounded affinity for the currency shown by the vote-seekers who make it to the victory stand at polls to various law-making bodies and the babudom, both keeping mutually rewarding august company in their game of carving out good chunk from the treasury and keep it nobody knows where. Drawing an analogy from Physics, water finds its own level while the tainted cash finds its own perch.
The Union Government, enacting a surgical strike as it were, declared currency of value Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 as invalid from the midnight of November 8, 2016, reportedly withdrawing 86 percent cash in use across the country. While the measure rankled the people of the land at large, the vote-seekers and babudom took the consequences in their stride. Both are back in their game saying public funds are for grabs.
Readers of dailies carrying news of Ministers laying foundation stones for all sorts of publicly funded projects starting from construction of gutters to dams across rivers (that may get wet once in a while) and widening of highways may have lost count of the foundation-laying functions, most of them not seeing light of day after the photo shoot. The reports are sure to gladden the hearts of the contractors who know the art of getting the works awarded to them, while the aam janata is assured of transparency by the administration. The estimates of the cost of every such project running to astronomical dimensions may generate a sense of awe in some but the rest are aghast unable to digest the figures.
Bridges may be taken away by gushing waters, highways may be witnessing yawning cracks, gutters may be getting clogged, buildings may be coming down crashing and so on, the administrative machinery, read the politicos and bureaucrats, seem to be chanting the line “Men may come and men may go, but I go on forever” like the river in the poem The Brook, penned by Lord Tennyson.