While it is one of the duties of the government to provide people with the best services and facilities, it is also our basic civic duty to treat those public services and facilities with respect.
And it is very easy to blame the government for lack of development in the country and conveniently forget about our civic duty.
This is pretty much what happened when the Mumbai-Goa Tejas Express — India's first high-speed semi-luxurious train — returned to Mumbai after completing its maiden trip.
The train — that covers 630 kilometres in less than nine hours and has modern amenities on board like LCD TVs, WiFi, CCTV, tea and coffee vending machines, bio-vacuum toilets and touch-less water taps — arrived in Mumbai on Tuesday in a complete mess.
Some passengers on the train had thrashed the LCD screens, stolen the headphones provided to them and had soiled the toilets, reported The Asian Age.
There was also so much litter on the train that the shocked railway authorities had to appeal to the passengers to treat the Tejas Express worse than they would their own property.
A passenger said that some people tried to remove the LCD screen by pulling on its hinges while others did not flush the toilet after using it, because of which the toilet began to stink an hour after the journey had begun.
As far as the stolen headphones are concerned, Mumbai Mirror quoted another official as saying, "The headphones were distributed just after the journey commenced. There wasn't an announcement to return the headphones because we expected passengers to not carry them away, just like they don't take away pillows and blankets."
This raises a question about whether we really deserve high-quality facilities like those given on the Tejas Express. After all, if the facilities are anyway going to be vandalised and stolen, the government should rather provide low-quality services to us and then spend the money saved on food, education or employment.
We often keep complaining about how the railway stations and trains in India are dirty but forget that the infamous paan stains on platforms and trains are the result of people spitting paan wherever they feel like.
As far as littering is concerned, it will probably take a long time before most of us realise that government programmes like Swachch Bharat Abhiyan can never succeed and the Ganga will never be clean until we make a conscious effort to respect our surroundings.
Updated Date: May 25, 2017 13:16 PM