Free the freeway

Does the state government build very expensive infrastructure for the benefit of citizens, or to grab publicity for the public-funded projects and gratify its leaders through them? 

The MMRDA has spent Rs 1,100 crore to build the 13.59-km-long Eastern Freeway, which is a blessing for town-suburb connectivity. Free of any traffic signals, it will cut travel time by half between South Mumbai and Chembur. Doubtless, this is a welcome news, but…

The MMRDA’s undemocratic fixation with getting a politico from the Centre, no less than a Union minister, to cut the ribbon, has reduced the freeway to a mere trophy it wants to show off in order to earn kudos and coddle bosses.

If the freeway has been completed on the scheduled time, which in itself is a rarity going by the MMRDA’s track record, it should be thrown open to the public forthwith.

Even in the past many projects have had to sit idle before the public could set foot, or tyre, on them, all thanks to political considerations. On December 2, 2012, the opening of the Kharghar skywalk in Navi Mumbai was deferred indefinitely, until it was forcibly opened by the Aam Aadmi Party.

In 2008, the three northward-bound lanes of the airport flyover, constructed by the MSRDC on the Western Express Highway, remained in disuse for months, until finally, Shiv Sainiks did the honours. In 2009, a 505-metre, six-lane flyover at Navghar Junction in Mulund, built at a cost of Rs 12.50 crore, remained off-limits to public pending an official inauguration. 

If the MMRDA has already prepared the newspaper ads for the inauguration, why is it still waiting?  

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