To curse the darkness or be the light?

Here I am sitting through one more LACC meeting of ward 97.

A couple of years ago the Municipal Commissioner mandated the formation of Local Area Concerned Citizen meeting (LACC). At the heart of this initiative, lies the clear intention to shift the darbars of old to the door step of the common man. Gone are the days when you would have to run to the local ward officer, hands folded and their palms greased. The municipal babus and the corporators are now a feature in your community, paper work and all. The corridors of power seem to have shifted to 81 A Chapel Road ( that’s where the LACC meetings are held) .

But before you clink in celebration to cups of chai and party on a couple of wada pavs, know this; In Mumbai, to the best of my knowledge, we have only three corporators who have take the initiative to set up these peoples darbars ( ward 95,96, 97). So much for really caring for the needs of those they passionately wish to serve ( or so they want us to believe at election time)

But let’s not be ungrateful, at least we in Bandra, whose municipal wards fall in this area have reason to raise our collars. Before you think that municipal corporators of these wards exercise their conscience, much less their hearts, let’s give the real applause to the residents of Bandra and in particular to the activists. Now I know what you are thinking, does Bandra have some flag waving, glass breaking half crazed citizens? Not at all….imagine a room of sixty plus citizens, not numbering more than a total of twenty at each LACC meeting, each of them with a quiet but firm voice. They roll up the astuteness of a Financial CEO, the argumentative skills of a lawyer and heart of a grandparent. And fight for Bandra they do.

But thanks to these LACC meetings and the wonderful activists in Bandra so much of muck has moved out of our drains. Our garbage is cleared, children and senior citizens have pavements to walk; hawkers are now running rather than ruling the roads, health and sanitation is improving, drains are being cleared and so much more. But we have miles to go and promises to keep.

In the meanwhile I am blessed to have interacted with so many activists who live the message of Gandhi, ‘be the change you want to see’. There are way too many people in this city who curse the darkness; for God sake go buy yourself a candle.

LACC meetings are held at St Aloysius School, 81 A Chapel Road, Next to leelavati hospital on the 1st and 3rd Thursday of the month at 11 am for ward 97 and on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month at St Andrews School at 11 am for ward 96.

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