A couple of days ago Union housing and urban affairs minister Hardeep Puri released Ease of living index report for Indian cities. Hyderabad got 24th rank in this report. It slipped from 4th rank in the previous time to 24th rank in the current year. This led to the war of words between the leaders of TRS, who allege that the BJP government intentionally reduced the rank of Hyderabad, and leaders of BJP, Who argue that the negligence of the TRS government is the reason for this. Details as below.
The ease of living index is split into 2 parts. One deal with the cities with more than 1 million population and the other deals with the cities having less than 1 million population. Among the cities with a population of more than a million, Bengaluru has topped the list and given the tag of the most liveable city in India. Pune got 2nd rank, and Ahmedabad got 3rd rank. A total of 111 cities have been included in the list. Hyderabad got 24th rank in this list. Vishakhapatnam is at 15th rank, ahead of Hyderabad in ease of living. Among the cities having less than a million population, Shimla topped the list. Kakinada is in 4th place.
TRS Leaders’ vehement criticism on the report:
As soon as the report is out, TRS leaders criticised it saying BJP attempts to tarnish the image of Hyderabad. GHMC Mayor Vijayalakshmi came down heavily on the report and said BJP leaders interfered in the report and manipulated the rank of Hyderabad. She wondered how can rank slip from 4 to 24. While the report says poor drainage in the city pulled down to be rank, TRS leaders question, how Chennai can rank at 4th place if that is the case.
BJP leaders counter-arguments:
BJP leaders counter the arguments of Vijayalakshmi and other TRS leaders. They argue the TRS government’s negligence is the main reason for this. They remind the recent statements of the Mayor on the poor drainage and flood proneness of Hyderabad. It is to be noted that, when reporters asked Mayor about how she can save the city from floods, she replied, she can only pray for God not to flood the city through heavy rains and other than that she can’t do anything. BJP leaders also remind how HYDERABAD people rebelled against TRS leaders during ghmc elections campaigning as they were frustrated with TRS’s mis-governance in GHMC region.
Both arguments have some merit:
There’s some truth in both sides of the arguments. Bangalore was at 58th rank in 2018. Now it jumped to 1st place. But even the citizens of Banglore themselves are not accepting the tag of the best livable city as they face several issues like huge traffic and lack of basic amenities. So obviously the report has political motivations.
But there’s the other side of the coin too. There is a huge deviation in the parameters considered for this report. While criteria in 2018 focused more on governance parameters, criteria this time includes parameters related to individual choices, citizen awareness and priorities by citizens. Probably modified criteria might have impacted the ranking of Hyderabad.
It seems the political parties know about the modified criteria and yet indulge in a war of words just to push the other party to the corner. So overall, it is just another mind game by the parties to get some political mileage of yet another issue.