Our rulers and policy makers aren't responsive to citizens' demands once they have attained power.
This was the overwhelming sentiment among the audience at the Hindustan Times Mumbai First Conclave 2010 on Tuesday at a hotel in the centre of the city.
The conclave had three sessions, one on governance, one on business and the third on entertainment.
"We have written to the MMRDA several times but rarely received a response,” said George Gopali, 51, who for the past eight years, has been working to clean Mumbai's beaches.
"But getting in touch with the authorities was close to impossible.”
However, through Hindustan Times Gopali got an opportunity to question PRK Murthy, chief of transport and communication, MMRDA.
Others in the audience who attended the conclave, got a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get their questions answered by authorities upfront.
After every session, the audience had a chance to pose questions to the panelists.
"The minister spoke about people's participation. We have been trying to participate for a long time. This time, I had a chance to personally interact with him, take his contact details and we will soon be writing to him," said Gopali.
S. Venkateshwar, 28, a high court lawyer, and a Hindustan Times reader believes that initiatives like this will help change the city.
"It brings authorities face to face with the real Mumbai. They often interact with their vote banks during elections. However this time, they interacted with people from industry and society," he said.
"Civic issues were addressed. An interaction like this will help in framing policies related to economic capital."
For Chandini Shah (18), it was one of her most exciting moments.
A mass media student of Jai Hind college and an avid reader, Shah wants to become a journalist.
"I had the opportunity of interacting with Suresh Shetty, the minister for health and environment. But it was the entertainment section that I really enjoyed. I had a chance to watch the panelists right from Karan Johar to Dibakar Banerjee have an interesting conversation. I really enjoyed that," Shah added.