mid-day editorial: Stop senselessly spending public money
And, here's another glaring example of how the government gets so carried away with its grandiose plans that end up having no connection, so to speak, with ground reality. The Rs 1 lakh crore Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed bullet train corridor is one such glaring example. If it had only done its homework before embarking on the project, it would have realised its futility.
A Right To Information query on the regular Mumbai-Ahmedabad train route threw up some startling figures - as many as 40 per cent of the seats had gone empty this year between July and September. So, how in the world are the railways expecting to fill the bullet train? Packing it with officials? But none of them are likely to take the train, bullet or not. This is not the first or the last of the useless utilities. There are countless examples of precious public money wasted on such 'amenities'. Mumbai is riddled with them. The monorail route - Wadala to Chembur - is losing R8.5lakh every single day. A survey before embarking on this project would have shown why. That's Rs 1,100 crore down the proverbial drain.
Then there are the skywalks. They were supposed to make like easier for citizens, taking them off the congested roads and from the path of speeding vehicles. There are 36 of them already built, yet more than half of them only serve the purpose of elevating the city's unsavoury elements to three flights up.
Despite the grand plan being to get tens of lakhs of people off the roads, a study carried out by the MMRDA shows that only 2.50 lakh people use the skywalks - a fraction of Mumbai's population of 1.2 crore. Let's not forget the Rs 3,600 crore Chhatrapati Shivaji memorial planned off the Arabian Sea. We underestimate the power of collective pressure. It's really up to us to stop this senseless spending based on political one-upmanship.