Fountain Of Ideas For Progress
[ Proposal No. 2 ]
Although the government is proudly claiming that GOA has achieved all the health goals it envisaged a decade ago for the year 2000, the ground realities are quite different. The overall situation is dismal.
The rise on the prevalence of malaria, T.B. Diarrohea, Dysentry and other infectious diseases is symptomatic of a lop-sided health care system which focuses on super-specialities but ignores basic public hygiene. Whether we are constructing high rise buildings, roads and highways, new housing colonies, health has to have a central place in such projects. It is an accepted fact that the health component has to be an essential part of the urban planning.
By health, we are not referring only to medical treatment, but to an environment conducive to a healthy life. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) refers to city planning in terms of Healthy Cities for a better life, emphasizing access to sanitation, waste management and education before health services. Prior to the liberation of Goa and a few years after liberation, Goa was governed by a code of health and sanitary legislation known as portaria sete mil doze (7012) in which there was a provision of sanitary police, which was a very progressive concept in the field of public health worthy of being introduced all over India. This concept has been eliminated today.
Unfortunately, now we have a hospital dominated health system even while experience gained over the years has shown that it is advantageous to put an emphasis on the preventive aspect of the disease over the curative, promotive over preventive, domiciliary treatment over the institutional, and , educational approach over legal.
When Britain set up its National Health Services, it started with proper drainage systems and preventive care. This phase seems to have been bypassed in Indian cities. This lacuna is evident when we compare our cities with the cantonments. Cantonments are much better planned. But realisation seems to dawn on us very late, only when our system collapse and vast areas are flooded, waterlogging of drains being common, giving rise to insanitary conditions, resulting in outbreaks of epidemics.
Town planning , today, is a highly specialized and complex task. It is beyond the comprehension and understanding of our present day crop of legislators who are vested with powers to clear the projects. The resulting mess is there for all to see. Town planning has to harmonize the present needs of the population with the future growth.
Consideration of sociological aspects is totally absent in our urban planning. No provision is made for settlements of the people who service the towns. Consequently, poor people who earn their living in the city have to commute long distances at an expenditure which they can ill afford. As a result, slums crop up throughout the city. If there is an attempt to evict them, they reappear with a vengeance.
The Planning and Development Authority in Goa should be reconstituted to have as its members only qualified professionals with experience in urban planning with no place for politicians on it.
A contribution of a founder member of Goa Su-Raj Party.