Cricket legend and Rajya Sabha MP Sachin Tendulkar has written to the CM, asking him to address the many problems related to toll gates, saying they take a “physical and mental toll on citizens who travel in and out of the city.” In the February 20 letter written on his MP letterhead, the Master Blaster has taken up the issues concerning operation of toll plazas in the city, which cause traffic snarls and act as bottlenecks, and requested the CM to address them “to reduce the physical and mental toll on citizens”.
Sachin listed out toll gates along the periphery of the city and mentioned that the addition of the toll plaza at Kharghar has compounded woes for the citizens. He made a point of stating that it is time one reviews the number of toll plazas, rather than keep adding to the list. He cites burning precious fuel, road blocks and traffic snarls as a direct result of this. He also says that fumbling for change of Rs 5 results in traffic snarls at various toll blocks.
While the batsman’s reasoning may have its merits or demerits, it is good that Sachin has brought the issue to the notice of the Chief Minister. Tendulkar has not only cited various problems rising out of toll booths, with that he has certainly put his finger on the pulse of what other Mumbaikars are thinking and feeling. He has also provided what he thinks may be some feasible solutions, which include using technology as a solution to stopping at various points to collect toll. It is heartening to see Sachin using his huge influence to bring about some awareness on vexing issues. While a letter to the CM may not automatically mean redressal of issues, it goes some way in creating awareness, given Sachin's profile itself and the hype it generates.
It is evident that Sachin has given deep thought to the problem and his actual letter to the CM is like a well-planned innings. We need Sachin now, to use his MP status to bring up burning issues. Always reticent on the cricket field, sometimes disappointingly so in his playing days when the fixing issue was burning especially, he needs to speak up now. Mumbai is applauding once again, Sachin.