The streets of our city are paved with gold, apparently. At least that's what people who live outside Mumbai have been told for decades now. We, on the other hand, believe the gold is probably stockpiled beneath our streets. Why else would the many 'development authorities' supposedly set up to make our lives simpler spend so much time digging things up?
As the civic elections approach, every department that has been tasked with maintaining infrastructure (and clearly hasn't) has decided to shake the dust off and get down to some serious digging. As a result, it is safe to say Mumbai has more holes than roads.
The most annoying thing about this state of affairs is how shoddy the work is. The digging is reckless; the filling up, worse. There are few supervisors around, and absolutely no regard for how traffic is affected. As a result, every major street has new bottlenecks cropping up each week. Utility companies run amuck, putting down supply lines and optical fibres in much the same way a farmer plants seedlings at random.
What these enthusiastic folk fail to realise, sadly, is how this makes things the hardest for senior citizens, the disabled, and women and children.
As a number of wise people have pointed out repeatedly in the past, the test of a civilisation is the way that it cares for its helpless members. Examined against that parameter, Mumbai is currently a failure. If simply getting to work is a journey fraught with immense difficulty, the way our daily commute now is, we need to ask some serious questions before walking to those voting booths.
We hope the authorities do find what they're looking for. And, if it really is gold, we hope they use it a little more wisely than they currently use our taxes.