A Formula One (F1) demonstration event featuring British driver Lewis Hamilton was slated to be held at Marine Drive in Mumbai on Sunday, September 16. This event has now been shifted from the iconic venue, to the city’s Bandra-Kurla Complex after objections were raised by south Mumbai residents. Some claimed that they did not want commercialisation of the Marine Drive strip, while others raised the point that the Marine Drive has seen many accidents by speed junkies, and an F1 event there would encourage even more people to speed.
While one is not even going into the merit of these claims or the lack of it, of these arguments, the bottom line is that a set of people from a part of the city had enough of a voice to influence organisers to take the event elsewhere, out of their backyard. Obviously, an event of this magnitude would also entail some change in routine for residents; the road would probably be closed for a few hours, hordes of people would descend on Marine Drive and it would mean a disruption in routine life, for a few hours at least. Yet, the event would have also been a source of pride for Mumbai, with the Queen’s Necklace, an apt setting for it.
One wonders if the event would have been shifted if residents with lesser influence, less money power and consequently less clout had opposed something like this happening in their own backyard.
Veering away from the F-1 issue, let’s talk about the proposed Peddar Road flyover. The flyover has been stalled for years because of numerous objections from the South Mumbai set, while infrastructure projects all over the city go on. The JJ flyover residents had no choice but to watch the flyover being constructed, even touching some of their homes. Goes to prove that in spite of protestations about democracy and the like, some people are more equal than others.