Of politicians and promises

Politicians are the same everywhere: they promise to build bridges even where there are no rivers

May 03, 2021

Opinion is free; but fact is fact. However, both opinions and promises are free. In 2019, the then minister for science and technology, who now holds the portfolio of information, had announced that bottled safe drinking water would soon be made available for Re1 a litre, and the Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR) was making preparations in this regard. The price of the water suggests that the plan was meant to benefit the common man.

Now after a year and a half down the line, it has been revealed that only the bottle costs Rs7. Obviously, the minister did not do his homework before he made the alluring announcement. Given his young age and inexperience, he sometimes resorts to pompous rhetoric. He is not alone in promising the moon to the people. The promise was not pure wind, however. It was a case of, there is no smoke without fire. The PCRWR chairman has cleared the fog enveloping the issue belatedly though that filtered water would cost less than one rupee a litre minus the cost of bottle. Two such water filtration plants cost as little as 23 paisas a gallon. The official says they discourage the consumption of bottled water at their offices and they use glasses. As to the delay in coming out with the real situation, he says he was out of the country when the announcement had been made.

Politicians are the same everywhere: they promise to build bridges even where there are no rivers. Recently, a provincial minister announced that many electric buses would be imported. However, electric buses are more expensive than other kinds of buses, and they are useful only when run on clean electricity. Before the 2019 elections, Rahul Gandhi had promised to build many 500 square feet houses in 10 days in poor areas of Mumbai, if voted to power. Another politician had said that every person in the country would soon have Rs1.5 million in his or her bank account.


Published in The Express Tribune, May 3rd, 2021.

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