mid day editorial: Note to officials: Being vague is not in vogue

Updated: Dec 09, 2017, 06:28 IST | mid-day correspondent

The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) recently took charge of the maintenance of the Western Urban Road in Malad

The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) recently took charge of the maintenance of the Western Urban Road in Malad. Why is important? Because it tells us whom to turn to for answers when something goes wrong. Like when a mini container lost control on a flyover along the Western Urban Road recently, falling 20 feet below on a service road. The vehicle would not have fallen if barriers were not missing from the flyover. The container crushed a number of vehicles parked below, but there were no casualties. While one can simply count our good fortune that there were no deaths, it is important to note what a joint project director of the MMRDA said when asked about missing barriers. This official said that they would immediately look into the incident and instructions would be given to the officials concerned to install the missing crash barriers at the earliest.

It is important to see how this lingo more or less spouted by politicians and officials in the light of accidents or mishaps, which they do not want to acknowledge, is designed to misguide, confuse and obfuscate issues. The next part of the statement that "instructions will be given to officials" is equally vague. Who exactly will give instructions? Will these be in writing? Will they clear red tape associated with such infra projects? Why not specify who these officials are? He also promises to install crash barriers at the earliest. We must also note the words 'at the earliest'. Watch out for similar spiel from those in charge when they are pulled up for lackadaisical work. Unclear statements seem to be their refuge. Answers that deflect are difficult to understand and are band-aid measures designed to assuage momentary anger. See through them and demand a more responsible response.

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