mid-day editorial: Hey Ram! Focus on amenities instead

With the Oshiwara station set to be unveiled in a matter of months, the BJP and the Shiv Sena want it to be named Ram Mandir Station, in recognition of a popular temple in the area, a front page report in this paper stated yesterday.

Both political parties have been making a pitch for the under-construction Oshiwara station, set to be operational in November to be named Ram Mandir. They base their argument on the fact that there is a popular Ram Mandir in the area. Instead of lending a communal colour to the facility, one could just keep it Oshiwara station.

Like we have Andheri station or Jogeshwari station, Oshiwara station should suffice.

The report adds that leaders from the two parties have even raised their demand with Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu and Home Minister Rajnath Singh, and have reportedly asked Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to follow up on it.

These are dangerous political games, aimed at capturing eyeballs and publicity, keeping the issue in the news and stirring the communal sentiment pot.

Instead of shouting about what this station should be named, the leaders can pitch in with water fountains, hygienic food stalls, take some interest in FOBs, all in conjunction with the Railways of course. They can also see if an escalator can be installed at the station, ensure the quality of construction work and availability of transport options outside the station.

Through the years, political parties have made public infrastructure battlegrounds to push their ends. Endless wars about what bridges or roads should be named, which leader should inaugurate gardens, flyover-naming fracas have resulted in project delays and infantile controversies.

Let us concentrate on what is really important, giving a well equipped, modern and good quality station to the Western Railway commuter and of course, to Mumbai city at large.

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