Infrastructure of city is this valuable for common man
Infrastructure of city is this valuable for common people
Busybee or Behram Contractor, the well known humorist, had a heart. I just found a clipping of his column
in Afternoon daily of 8 September, 1999 about the newly constructed subway for pedestrians, an underground tunnel,
outside VT or CST railway terminus.
He has rightly argued that it would have been much better to have built an underpass for vehicles and let commuters have
right of way on the main road. Similarly, he argued against the foot over bridge for pedestrians outside the station.
It is all done for the benefit of motorists and not pedestrians, he correctly pointed. And that is what any traffic expert,
not sold to the automobile lobby, will testify.
Unfortunately, our minds are so conditioned by the sustained and subtle propaganda of the motor car lobby that we start
believing that all these anti people measures are for our benefit and not for the benefit of a minority of vested interests.
One thought of this after reading a recent report that the civic corporation is set on building the foot over bridge which
was demolished a few years ago after a portion had collapsed. I was Busybee’s colleague in TOI for some years before
he switched to Mid-Day and then Afternoon.
There is a very big nexus of machinery manufacturers, corrupt and ignorant elements in the administration and others.
I read in the media today about a proposal to build an Infrastructure underground road between Borivali and Thane.
Such proposals are driven mainly by the new tunnel boring machinery making companies which have come up
in the last few years. They need business. These have little to do with actual needs of society. There are much better
ways of handling traffic, which will cost little or nothing. But the corrupt elements are not interested in these.
About the tunnel machinery manipulation one could hear only from enlightened engineers like Dinesh Mohan whom we lost recently.
Similar is the huge racket about building high rise car parking. The MMRDA and MCGM should be
asked politely – first you publicly disclose how many cars are actually parked there. The answer ,
if we get an honest one, will shock most people, many of these are empty.
It is against rules to park vehicles on the road in the vicinity of these parking lots.
But I see a sight every day, cars are parked right on the footpath, not to speak of the road, next to a high rise car park which lies empty.
The problem is at least some decision makers, who are supposed to solve our problems, are making things worse.
Richard Sennett, one of the leading figures in urban planning and sociology for the past fifty years,
has said parking on roads is the biggest privatization of Infrastructure public space. But it is this very public space
that civic administrations are determined to make private and increase hardships of common people already weighed down by multiple problems.
Vidyadhar Date Vidyadhar Date is a senior journalist and author of a book concerned with road safety and the cause of public transport , cyclists and pedestrians.