300 crore. That’s what some of our political parties ended up costing Mumbai. A city that doesn’t have adequate funds to complete crucial infrastructure projects, that doesn’t have adequate funds to fill manpower posts across various departments, that barely manages to keep its head above water (literally) when the monsoon shows up — this is the city that our politicians decided to shut down.
The answer to that question ‘What did they accomplish?’ continues to elude us all. The Shiv Sena and BJP have gone to town claiming complete support from citizens who were tired of the government’s inability to reign in rising prices. Our reporters, however, begged to differ. All they came across was people from all walks of life stranded at railway stations, outside examination halls, at airports and near hospitals. They didn’t look like they supported or disagreed with the purpose of any bandh. They looked like normal folk simply trying to get on with their lives.
Those who are hit hardest at times like these are the poor — those forced to rely on daily wages to ensure a meal at the end of the day, those who don’t have the luxury of thinking about rising petrol prices, those the government has had a habit of letting down on a regular basis.
Another question that needs to be asked is who intends to pay for these losses? The vehicles, stores and other property destroyed for no apparent reason — who will pick up those tabs? Apparently, a voluntary citizens’ rights group is now seeking legal advice to file contempt proceedings against the BJP and Shiv Sena for calling the bandh in violation of a Bombay High Court order. Nothing good comes from shutting a city down. Political parties need to understand this, even if it is the hard way.