A century, but no score
He had promised Mumbai the focus and funding it deserved. But CM Ashok Chavan has not yet delivered.mumbai Updated: Feb 21, 2010 00:48 IST
If the state government had to clear a unit test at the end of 100 days, as lakhs of school students do each year, it would probably fail.
And the lowest score on its report card would be marked in red against its promise to transform Mumbai into a world-class city.
All that your city has actually gained in the last 100 days, in fact, is a 100-metre trial run of the monorail and four new skywalks.
Even the Congress-NCP-led government can apparently find no excuse for the manner in which infrastructure, urban development and transport projects have languished since the alliance won a second consecutive term in office.
“The government has taken decisions but they have not been implemented,” said NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik. “Unless the government speeds up its delivery mechanism, people will not see results.”
It’s a poor showing for a chief minister who pledged, when he took office last November, that Mumbai would finally get the funding and focus it deserved.
To be fair, there is no dearth of promises — projects worth Rs 1.13 lakh crore have been scheduled over the next five years.
These include completing nine corridors of the Mumbai Metro, setting up an inland water transport system, building 5 lakh low-cost rental homes and finishing three corridors of the monorail.
But, if the last 100 days are anything to go by, the plans are unlikely to make it off the drawing board.
Vital projects like the 4.7-km Worli-Haji Ali sea link and the 22-km Mumbai trans-harbour link — both of which could change the way you commute — have been stuck in the cold war between the Congress and its electoral ally, the Nationalist Congress Party, as agencies controlled by NCP ministers (like the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation and Public Works Department) slug it out with the regional development authority, headed by the Congress chief minister Chavan.
Just last week, the MMRDA received an ultimatum from the World Bank over the snail’s pace of the ambitious Mumbai Urban Transport Project.
“Projects like the Santacruz-Chembur Link Road are already way behind schedule,” said World Bank team leader Hubert Josserand.
Meanwhile, the cabinet subcommittee on infrastructure has not met once, further holding up work on the city’s highways and proposed sea links.
“It’s disappointing, because the initial days set the tone for governance,” said civic activist Vinay Somani. “It seems like there is no vision for the city. Decisions are arbitrary.”
The disillusionment is apparent even within the government too.
“Even small decisions like finalising an agency to draw up a concept plan for the city have been on hold,” said an exasperated senior bureaucrat, speaking to HT on condition of anonymity. “The Mumbai makeover is floundering.”