It finally happened last week.
The event for which our politicians and administrators had been so carefully and assiduously planning for so long, over the course of almost half a century, was unleashed in grand style. It is a testament to the mettle of the people involved that they have pursued this task regardless of the hardships they faced and the money they may have made in the bargain. It is also a testament to the unity in diversity across political parties who got together in pursuit of a common goal in national interest. Despite frequent changes of government, pursuit of this dream continued unceasingly.
The Northern Power Grid collapsed on a Monday, bringing life to a standstill in most of the northern part of the country. As a result, among other impacts:
- Over 300 trains were disrupted in the affected states
- Several hundred coal miners were stranded underground
- Metro train services in the national capital were shut down which, in turn, caused a gridlock on the roads
- Income Tax returns could not be submitted on time leading to an extension of the cut-off date and delay in revenue for the government
- Over 600 million people were affected
- Holiday declared from 3 PM onwards
- Water treatment plants were shut down
On account of this stellar performance, the Power Minister has been promoted to the coveted Home Ministry.
His next in line have been demoted to inconsequential roles on account of, among other reasons:
- Only 300 trains being disrupted in the affected states
- Only several hundred coal miners stranded underground
- Only Metro train services in the national capital shut down; why was the rest of the public transportation system not electrified so that it could also have been shut down is a question they could not answer convincingly
- Only Income Tax returns could not be submitted on time leading to an extension of the cut-off date; why were Sales Tax returns not affected?
- Only 600 million people affected; in a 1.2 billion country this is an inconsequential number
- Holiday declared only from 3 PM onwards; in a shocking admission, they admitted to letting people work till 3 PM
- Water treatment plants shut down; unanswered qustion – why no impact on cooking gas?
Justifying the demotion of the people responsible for this state of affairs, a Power Ministry spokesman said “These people been in their jobs for years and had enough opportunity to ensure that this effort did not turn out to be the half-hearted effort it finally turned out to be, like many other similar attempts of the past, sullying the image of the nation once again. Like successful private companies, we want to hold our people responsible to the highest standards of performance, and take strict action against junior employees as and where those standards are not met.”
In a function held to felicitate him on this landmark achievement, the Power Minister lauded the achievements of his ministry. He said that several thousand villages have been electrified, i.e. provided electric connections and joined to the grid. He said it was one thing to electrify villages when you have power to supply, quite another to do so when you don’t have power to supply. His ministry’s achievements were even greater because they have electrified villages without having any power to supply to them.
The crowd broke out into applause.
He said that some misguided people were trying to experiment with solar power generation and stand in the way of development. “We will not let motivated and unscrupulous elements stand in the way of development”, he stated emphatically. In a firm tone he sent out a clear warning to the miscreants and stated, “We are dealing with the situation as it should be dealt with. We are planning to make solar power generation illegal. We have a bright future ahead of us.”
Admitting that he has had to make sacrifices and endure personal hardship over many years in quest of this noble goal, he broke down. His family had ben most affected, he said. He said that his family, as they have always lived in the VIP areas of the city, have had uninterrupted power supply. They have been deprived of the development unleashed on the rest of the country through frequent power cuts. He feared they will be ill equipped to participate in the economic renaissance sweeping across the nation.
In an emotional speech, he said it has been an uphill task to repeatedly avoid facing the facts, ignore correct data, make incorrect projections and parrot out empty promises. It had taken a huge toll on his health and he was happy that he was being moved to a different role which had greater opportunity for the development and welfare of the nation.
With this, he stepped off the stage to a thundering ovation.
(to be continued…)