‘Citizens should know society’s issues’

Monday, 7 October 2019

The experts spoke on  various issues viz. power sector, police system, public health system, environment and traffic problems.

PUNE: Members of Sajag Nagrik Manch and experts from different fields organised a discussion on demands that citizens should put before political representatives ahead of the Assembly election.

The event was held at IMDR campus near Fergusson College on Sunday evening.

The experts pointed out the need for the masses to be  more aware and cognisant of the society issues, which will help them know about their tax utilisation by the government. 

Speaking on the issues in power sector, Shantanu Dixit said while the problem of load shedding across Maharashtra has improved, there are other challenges coming up. “Pricing of electricity needs to be controlled and use of alternative sources of electricity generation like solar or wind should be tapped which will help control the electricity pricing. Similarly, in the future, there will be more use of electric vehicles and electric cooking and so citizens should demand infrastructure to support the same. The entire cost of generating electricity through solar comes to Rs 3.15 per unit, whereas the basic cost of producing electricity through coal is Rs 3.81 per unit and consumers now are paying Rs 8 to 9 per unit,” added Dixit. 

Former assistant commissioner of police (ACP) Sharad Awasthi, who was present at the event, highlighted that political interference in the police system is affecting the latter’s functioning.  “While the police officials are armed with weapons, they cannot use them. 

Similarly they have the power but cannot use it due to various reasons and then the victims blame the police department when criminals are roaming free on the street,” added Awasthi.

Another speaker Dr Abay Shukla said there is need of strengthening the public health system and regulating the private ones.  “There is massive shortage of medicines in government hospitals and many cannot afford to reach private hospitals and so there is need for attention in the healthcare system. India’s expenditure on public healthcare per capita per year is Rs 1,500 whereas that of Maharashtra is Rs 990 and it comes in the bottom three along with Uttar Pradesh and Bihar when ranked across India. No one speaks of medical corruption. There are just 14 government medical colleges compared to around 38 private ones in the State,” Shukla said.

Environmentalist Sarang Yadwadkar highlighted the need to develop rural areas and decongest cities which will help in handling the issue of over population. 

“Many people migrating to cities leads to different issues along with problems of pollution, traffic and several others. We should follow the principle of equal ease of life,” added Yadwadkar.

Activist Vivek Velankar said that Pune city is always blamed for consumption of more water, which is not the case. 

“Our dam storage is more than 29 TMC feet which is sufficient for round-the-clock supply in Pune,” added Velankar, who also demanded the need for a transparent toll system so that the toll contractors do not collect excess toll from people.

Pranjali Deshpande stressed on the need of better planning to address traffic issues in the city. 

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