mid-day editorial: VIP or common man, treat them the same

Here's a tip for ordinary mortals at their wits' end because of the rundown infrastructure of the city — invite an unsuspecting Very Very Important Person (read minister) to experience the same issues. Once this VVIP is put through the same hardship that hundreds of common people have to undergo on a daily basis, it acts like a foot on the accelerator, and that rundown infra may just get the attention and repair it's been begging for.

Yesterday, this paper reported the authorities immediately got into gear to overhaul the decrepit Khar subway after Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu's entourage crawled through the chock-a-block traffic in the narrow subway. Put off by the experience, Prabhu directed his officials to reconstruct and expand the subway. The report stated that a feasibility study on the approach roads to the subway has already started.

It is disappointing, but typical, that it takes a minister or some other prominent person to act as catalyst for action in such matters. We see roads getting special attention when a minister is expected to pass by. Potholes are filled, dividers painted over and any broken bits along the side are repaired in double time, so that the VIP has a smooth commute.

Unfortunately, we do not see the same alacrity when common people complain about something that needs to be done. This can be the state of the footpath outside a residential colony, a difficult to cross patch that needs a subway or bridge, a signal that has stopped functioning, or a pothole that needs repair. Citizens may cry
themselves hoarse, calling for action, write mails, make phone calls and even make trips to government offices, but promises of action are rarely fulfilled, and in some cases, complaints are ignored altogether.

Let us change this attitude that only the 'influential' can get work done. The common man is an equal stakeholder in this city, and in the eyes of the government, each
citizen should count as a Very Important Person.

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