mid-day editorial: We need real action, not just political drama
For years, no one seemed bothered that the death trap that was the narrow foot overbridge at Elphinstone Road station
For years, no one seemed bothered that the death trap that was the narrow foot overbridge at Elphinstone Road station. Until the devastating stampede on September 29, that is. Now, suddenly, politicians everywhere have woken up to the plight of commuters, with every political party looking to get the maximum mileage out of this tragedy, all the while claiming to have the utmost concern for the common man.
On Thursday, MNS chief Raj Thackeray held a protest march in south Mumbai to demand better rail infrastructure for train commuters. Though his march seemed peaceful compared to the earlier rabble rousing and divisive politics, people would do well to ask themselves why it is only now that political leaders are paying attention to a problem that we, as citizens, have been complaining about for years. People must wise up to the ways of the politicians. While it is good that politicians are finally taking up for us, it is also crucial to be mindful of the timing and the motives behind it.
The MNS has demanded and set a timeframe for railway managers to decongest stations by evicting illegal hawkers and vendors. While de-congestion will certainly help, threats and ultimatums are counter-productive and actually foster a culture of hooliganism and goonda-ism. The MNS and, in fact, all political parties need to stop saying that they will take matters in their own hands, MNS-style or whatever other style parties choose. This tragedy cannot become a springboard for violence or unrest. We do not need politicians to use their power for vandalism, but to improve the city infrastructure.
Constructive criticism, suggestions and action are useful, not threats and empty aggression that can combust into dangerous situations for the people who always seem to get hurt - ordinary citizens.
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