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Welcoming Our New Decision Maker

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By Hugh & Colleen Gantzer

Dear DM:
Welcome as our new District Administrator.
There is a common perception among many fellow citizens that all power resides in the powerful Triumvirate of the DM, CM and PM. We know that the Constitution of India maintains that authority vests in the Legislature, the Judiciary and the Executive: the folk who make the Law, Interpret the Law, and Enforce the Law. But, as you are aware, there has always been a gap between Reality and Perception and, as our elections prove, Perception usually wins. In your case, moreover, you have strong connections with all three manifestations of the Powers That Be. As the Additional Secretary to the CM you have direct access to the Principal Law Maker of our state. As the DM, you are the prime interpreter of the law in our district. Middle English derived your designation from the Latin magistratus giving rise to the word magister or “Master”. Like Robinson Crusoe, you are “the Master of all you survey”! Finally, you are also the Vice President of the Mussoorie Dehradun Development Authority and the CEO of the Dehradun Smart City Project. That makes you a very powerful Administrator.
It’s, also, an abnormally heaped plate, Mr DM: and it says much for the confidence reposed in you. That makes you a One Stop Shop to answer all queries about everything happening in our District. Here, then, are six problems, to begin with.
1. A wing of the LBSNAA produced a wonderful document called “The Carrying Capacity of Mussoorie”. That was published as a book in 2001. Among other things, it said that Mussoorie was full: it just could not take any more buildings. But Mussoorie citizens say that, in spite of that assertion, more and still more buildings continue to spring up in our beleaguered hill station. That strikes us as being very, very, curious. Or are we jumping to conclusions?
2. Your MDDA assures everyone that they do not sanction any new constructions until they get a No Objection Certificate from the Jal Sansthan. Now here’s the strange part: the Jal Sansthan has, repeatedly, stated that they do not have the power to withhold such an NOC. But if they are compelled to issue an NOC, regardless of the precarious state of Mussoorie’s public water supply system, then the NOC has all the significance of disposable domestic tissue!
3. Mussoorie suffers from chronic problems of traffic congestion. There are many possible solutions including restricting the inflow of vehicles to the capacity of the parking facilities available in Mussoorie. No one, however, seems to have the courage or foresight to take stock of the situation and address the problem.
4. We suffer from a plague of marauding rhesus and langur monkeys. They attack our senior citizens, destroy our gardens and are carriers of rabies. Himachal has declared them vermin and allowed them to be shot. Most recently that state government has, reportedly, planned to extend the vermin order. We, apparently, have taken a “holier than thou” attitude to this problem. This is, clearly, an anti-civic decision by our netas considering that Mahatma Gandhi has specifically written that menacing simians should be exterminated.
5. Another recent decision taken by our presumably well meaning legislators, and passed as an amendment to the Forest Act, would have resulted in large-scale deforestation of our valuable green cover. This was interpreted by informed citizens as succumbing to the blandishments of the so-called ‘developers’ lobby’. This grossly ill-conceived decision was shot down by the courts. But it should never have passed the scrutiny of our elected representatives and administrators in the first place. Please intervene to frustrate such efforts if they are ever voiced again.
6. It’s now 14:50 on Monday, 10th Feb. The electricity has been off three times. This has been happening too often, recently, and it seemed to start when a high-voltage supply line was diverted via the LBSNAA. Because of this, the feeder line to the Mussoorie’s power-distribution facility at Kunj Bhawan has to pass down a long wooded road. This could explain the frequent failures. Would you like to enquire into this illogical diversion?

That is all for the present Mr DM.
With our warm regards,