August 19, 2017

Just what is development?

It is a question that bothers me very much.

Driving back from Warangal last week, I found myself once again grieving for the trees that had recently been cut down to make way for the 4-lane road. I thought a great deal about what this new road would do for people doing this drive. Before they made the 4-lane road from Hyderabad to Bhongir, the entire Hyderabad-Warangal stretch used to look like this:

The old road: why is this not 'development'?
 Now the road is like this:

The new road: why is this called development?
I do understand the advantages of 4-lane roads - faster transportation of goods, fewer accidents, no head-on collisions and so on. But if time is the only factor, this is what it looks like...read on.

We used to drive down from Warangal to Hyderabad innumerable times during my childhood. As a child, I always used to want to stop midway and have a picnic amidst trees and rocks, but for my father, the excitement of covering the distance in the shortest time was important. So what was the shortest time that he took, to get to Hyderabad? Two and a half hours, on lucky days when the several railway gates along the way were open. 

So how many hours do we take now, with half the distance covered on the 4-lane road? Three hours minimum or maybe the same two and a half hours as my father did, if you drive fast without stopping. How much time will people save when the second half of the road is widened? Maybe half an hour

So we displaced farmland, demolished houses, cut all those trees and spent all that money to save half an hour

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