It is the kind of statistics which may hasten the chances of getting a Delhi Belly.
But it is true. Delhi has performed the worst in Mercer’s Quality of Life Index for this year, ranking 161.
The good thing though is Pune is better off than Mumbai and some of the other cities surveyed. It is placed at 145, down one place from the year before. Bengaluru follows with 146. Mumbai is at 154.
Overall, all Indian cities performed poorly in the report. It is clear from the statistics that there was hardly any progress made over the last year. Hyderabad was first among Indian cities, though at a lowly 139. Only Chennai showed some improvement due to recent changes in its transport system.
The Austrian capital Vienna stood first overall. Singapore, at 25, was the top ranked city in Asia.
The Mercer’s survey is held annually to help people decide which cities to move to for work. It also helps companies decide on compensation for its expat workers.
So what’s with Pune? How can the city get better and become more attractive to companies and workers?
Pune will have to tackle some pressing issues which have been shunted aside by the authorities. A look at the city’s roads provides ample evidence that they are a rough mixture of tar or cement lumped together for transportation.
New flyovers and roads have been planned but their completion is only known to God and the corporation.The fixation with one-ways is mindless, to say the least. Some of the biggest roads in the city have been reduced to waste due to this strange inclination.
These factors indirectly lead to traffic snarls during peak hours, sometimes even normal hours. This affects people who have to commute daily to work. Those living far have to leave home at ungodly hours to beat the traffic and get to work.
Rash driving is another matter altogether which adds to the chaos. A good public transport system is needed for any city to be functional. However, Pune’s buses still remain elusive and its timings shrouded in mystery. The new metro project, when it does finally take off, will certainly help Pune to get into the transport track.
There are other civic issues which need urgent attention. The rotting garbage and lack of proper sanitation may put off many prospective workers from coming to the city.
Pune was once known for its fantastic weather. Today it has literally got too hot to handle. Conserving the environment becomes an important factor. An effective green drive is needed so that Pune remains attractive to workers.
The onus lies with the municipal corporation and the citizens. With the BJP now at the helm on the development agenda, things are likely to change. Firm action is needed, not mere words.
So let’s warm up to the task of making Pune a cool city again.