The Maharashtra state government seems to be in a hurry to make announcement after announcement to exhibit its keenness for development and infrastructure projects. This is a repeat of what happened right before the Lok Sabha elections. It is not surprising, therefore, that the Congress-NCP alliance is doing the same in anticipation of votes during the forthcoming Assembly elections.
On Monday, chief minister Prithviraj Chavan hastened to inaugurate the much-delayed Kherwadi flyover on the Western Express Highway and the Ghatkopar-Panjarapol link of the Eastern Freeway. The inauguration comes in the wake of criticism that some of the vital work on the flyovers was still to be done.
Safety of commuters may not be paramount for the government because votes are important. For instance, the Metro services were inaugurated in the midst of a ticket pricing controversy between the consortium that built the Metro and the government. Ticketing at the Metro itself turned out to be a problem.
The inauguration of Monorail services was also done half-heartedly as the Chembur-Wadala sector is possibly the least revenue-generating of all. Now, Monorail’s fate depends on Part II that connects Wadala to Saat Rasta, near Mahalaxmi station.
The promises that the CM made on the floor of the state legislature are nothing but pre-election sops to save the dwindling fortunes of the Congress-NCP coalition. The scrapping of 44 toll points, bifurcation of Thane district, waiver of power bills to farmers and reservations for the Maratha community are only a few examples.
This is nothing but a last-ditch effort to save the imminent defeat of Congress-led government in the state. There is a strong anti-incumbency mood in the state and reports such as Chitale committee and findings by CAG on irrigation, MMRDA, CIDCO may only deepen further the credibility quotient of the coalition government. The report only corroborates that the thousands of crores of taxpayers’ money has gone into drains achieving little for the state.