Clear all hurdles before announcing new projects

Whenever new infrastructure projects are announced, Mumbaikars are skeptical about dates of completion and many scoff cynically about the probability of a particular project ever being completed. The doubt comes with good reason.

Yesterday, this paper ran a front page report on how a structure between Bandra (West) station and Bandra Terminus, which is supposed to be a bridge, has overshot its deadline by more than a year. The bridge, supposed to connect the two stations, currently ends abruptly after some metres of an upwards-inclined road and has remained this way since 2012. The reason? Slums are hindering its progress. The 1 km Road Over Bridge (ROB) was supposed to ease movement of passengers from Bandra suburban station to Bandra Terminus.

Work began on the Rs 28-crore project in late 2011, but soon stopped after constructing barely 100 metres, since the further patch of land, over which it is supposed to pass, is populated by slums. This is a familiar and unfortunate story for the city.

Numerous infrastructure projects are started with great fanfare and then, somewhere mid-way problems crop up, as sometimes all permissions have not come in or slums obstruct the ongoing work, which push the completion date way beyond. This has been the case with the Bandra Worli Sea Link (BWSL), the monorail to cite just two but there are numerous examples. This is a colossal waste of taxpayers’ money and shows a shocking lack of pre-project co-ordination. All obstacles need to be thought of and cleared before the project commences.

One fails to understand why public structures are flagged off, only to hit some hurdle mid-stage and then lie in a state of limbo for months, if not years. In fact, this has become so common that it is a matter of genuine surprise if some facility is completed on time.

Let us change this shameful record and clear all decks before announcing and commencing work on new infrastructure in the city.

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