Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Mumbai on Sunday saw a spin-off that will benefit commuters in the city. The Western Express Highway (WEH) is now pothole-free and smoothly levelled.
Just a day before the PM’s visit to Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC), the authorities fixed the complete stretch of the highway from Mumbai Airport’s domestic terminal till the Kalanagar flyover. According to a report in this paper, the Public Works Department (PWD) stated that they had worked through the night for two days. A PWD spokesperson admitted that they have to spruce up roads and address potholes each time a VVIP visit is planned.
There is a tendency to repair all infrastructure when a minister is scheduled to visit. At such times, the authorities seem to rise from what is their perennial inertia and start repainting dividers, cleaning walls, fixing roads. Post the VIP visit, things go back to how they were — the roads are once again pockmarked, and maintenance goes out the window. All complaints by citizens — the taxpayers who fund the infrastructure — either fall on deaf ears or are caught up in so much red tape that the common man simply does not have the energy, time or resources to pursue the cause to its end.
Roads are not just for VVIPs. The quick action taken before Modi’s visit shows that the authorities are capable of fixing niggles in a jiffy. The same efficiency should be applied for common citizens. Pothole-riddled roads have caused severe injuries to commuters. Our pavements need immediate attention as well.
Yesterday, a reader wrote to this newspaper about how Modi must see the real state of the roads in Mumbai by making an unscheduled visit. This letter is an indicator of public anger, with people wondering why some are more equal than others.