privatization in India – The disastrous effect of privatization of public sector spaces with public amenities is visible in many places if one cares to notice.
Last week I went to the redeveloped, commercialized Mahim bus station of the municipal BEST transport undertaking.
A 24 storey building luxury Kanakia Miami standing on the BEST plot completely dominates the original user and
is an eye sore though it is touted for its luxury.
The luxury building was ready more than two years ago, the bus station had remained closed several years earlier
and in the last two years as well and was inaugurated by chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on August 7.
A month after the inauguration, the computerized system for bus operations here has not started working.
There is no board outside saying the bus station has opened.
There are bus stops with shelter inside but without any information about the destination, not to speak of the route or other details. The stainless steel bus stop design is as shoddy, anti people as in other parts of the city . Sitting on the narrow strip of a bench would be very uncomfortable during long waits for less frequent bus routes like one going all the way to distant Mira road in the western suburb. The builder was supposed to provide staff quarters which are not there, there is specific mention of the obligation to build these as I noticed in high court proceedings in the media.
The original four storey BEST administrative building is there, mercifully it is not demolished. But this redevelopment has of course vastly reduced the space of the original plot and there is just enough space for buses to manage entry from the S.V. road side and come out on the road goes towards Mahim railway station. There is a huge terrace above the bus operation area which perhaps in the original plan was to have been used for BEST use. Now, the builder has used it to provide all sorts of luxuries like including a swimming pool.
A board at the entrance of the tower mentions a facility of golf putting and a badminton court but the swimming pool is not mentioned but it is there. It seems all the 34 apartments are sold out and the builder must have made a lot of money. It would be worth finding out if he has paid fully for the land, some other occupants of such leased spaces have not paid their dues to the public sector owner. ( privatization in India )
There are still many large public sector undertakings in the country with lakhs of employees and these can become a major force of resistance. Many of these undertakings command thousands of acres of prime space. We desperately need to save the organizations and the spaces. An All India forum against privatization has now been set up and it is organizing some useful webinars I have attended. During one webinar last week Mr. Shiv Gopal Mishra, chief of the All India Railway men’s federation, felt the government has been talking about privatization of railways for years but it has been able to do little so far and we should not worry too much. However, we should not take the privatization talk lightly.