Chandigarh, the country’s first planned city, is passing through a strange situation at the moment, which can prove to be more difficult than the Covid pandemic situation.

The reason is the three-day strike of the electricity department employees of UT Chandigarh, which started from 12 midnight on Monday. It may turn into an indefinite strike if the matter is not resolved early.

The protesting employees are opposing the privatization of the electricity department in Chandigarh, while the UT administration is determined to do so by March end. The union of electricity workers had given the strike notice two months ago, but no alternative arrangement was made by the administration in this regard, which is a matter of concern. The biggest concern is about hospitals where many patients are in ICU or on life-saving machines like ventilators and their lives are in danger. Factories are closed in the industrial area of the city and there is an apprehension of industrial loss of up to Rs 60-70 crore per day.

Apart from this, a problem has arisen in front of the students preparing for the online examinations. Electricity has been missing in many parts of the city since Monday night and the administration has made no effective arrangement to rectify the power failure. Officers have been deployed for emergencies, but to no avail, as there are no linemen and electricians to fix the faults at the ground level. Water supply in many areas is also getting affected due to lack of electricity. Traffic lights are not working on the crossings and there is a big problem in the city. Imagine, this is happening in a well-organized city, what will happen to the smaller towns of the country?

Now take an example of a small town also. It came to my notice through a newspaper that there is a railway station in Badaun of Uttar Pradesh but there is not a single train to go to Lucknow or Delhi. Earlier the town used to have a small meter gauge line, which was later converted into a broad line, but nothing was done by the Ministry of Railways or the political representatives to improve the connectivity of the district headquarter. In this town of historical importance with Ganga Jamuni Tehzeeb, there is no industrial activity other than agriculture. At the time of the meter gauge line, the connectivity of Badaun was with Agra, Kasganj and Bareilly. For those going to the capitals of the country and the state, there is no other option but to travel by bus. The city’s MP is Dr Sanghamitra Maurya of BJP, who was supposed to get this connectivity done. Her father Swami Prasad Maurya quit BJP to join the Samajwadi Party.

Dr Sanghamitra Maurya in Badaun and Bollywood actress Kirron Kher in Chandigarh are two such MPs, whose presence or absence does not make any difference to their constituencies. Both have won elections because of BJP and PM Modi and the people of their respective cities are suffering. Many times, the candidate of a national party wins the election without any merit or substance.