Naming projects, a waste of time

After so many missed deadlines and escalation in costs the Milan Road over Bridge (ROB) opened yesterday, to some fanfare and a sigh of relief for citizens who were dreading negotiating a waterlogged Milan Subway for yet another monsoon. While improving infrastructure in the city is a necessity, one hopes that the familiar and quite frankly, inane debates about what to name this ROB hopefully don’t start making headlines.

Every time, key infrastructure becomes operational in Mumbai, there are hectic parleys on what one should name the structure, who should it be named after. Much time and sometimes tax payers’ money is wasted arguing about who should get the ‘honour’ of having the project named after them.

Rewind to the Bandra-Worli Sea Link (BWSL) where there was much debate and dissension about what it should be named post its inauguration. Political parties were seen in verbal confrontations with each other. It was named after Rajiv Gandhi but only after spending much time and effort in unnecessary arguments. The government should have a rule that all infrastructure projects and services need not be named after people. If we do have to name them, name them after fallen war heroes and services personnel who have given their life for the country. 

Time utilised for such matters could be better used to take a look at why projects missed so many deadlines, why was their costs escalated, and how one could avoid such occurrences in the future. Naming projects is merely a tool by political parties for some pats on the back, puffing up their importance and scoring political points over each other. Let’s not mire the Milan flyover into the same story once again. Let us instead see it as a value addition to the life of the Mumbaikar. 

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