Mumbai: Several citizens have objected to the stalling of the demolition and reconstruction of the arterial Sion railway over bridge (ROB), which provides a crucial link between the eastern and western parts of the city.
The FPJ had on Tuesday highlighted the fact that the work has been stopped following objections raised by local MP Rahul Shewale of the Shiv Sena (Eknath Shinde faction). Experts of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay, had declared the ROB unsafe and had recommended its demolition and reconstruction. The Central Railway had awarded the contract for the work, and shuttering of the road outside Sion station has also been done. The traffic police had made elaborate plans to redirect vehicular traffic through other routes. However, at the eleventh hour, work on the important project was stopped following objections raised by Shewale. He also has called for public consultation.
Dr Gaurang Vora, activist and local resident said, “It's unfortunate that our public representative is creating hurdles in the path of the railways and the BMC for reasons best known to him. The weakening of the ROB is a reality and thus needs to be rebuilt. Where is the question of taking public opinion?”
Dr Vora said that such interference by our MP would endanger the life and limb of the common public, rather than be of any help to anyone. “The people have full faith in the expertise of the IIT and raising doubts is going to prove disastrous to the common public. We urge our MP and all other public representatives to cooperate with the authorities to demolish and reconstruct a stronger and wider ROB as soon as possible. After all. they are supposed to work solely in the interest of the general public,” he said.
Advocate Godfrey Pimenta of the Watchdog Foundation posted that politicians do not bother with public opinion unless there is a huge outburst. “I don't know why the planning authorities, who have competent engineers, accept political interference as this is limited to elections,” he said.
Potshots At Rahul Shewale
Aftab Siddique posted, “Since when did politicians start caring about community consultation before major infrastructure changes. In KWest ward, work on Gokhale bridge is incomplete because of political interference.”
He added, “Let me remind Mr Shewale about his visit in 2015 to Kharie Municipal School with 700 Urdu medium students. The school was blindly given away to Khar masjid builders for extending the masjid and the local kids were shifted to other schools. Till today, as per agreement, Khar masjid did not give space for school in the vicinity.”
Anand Shirali, another affected citizen, said, “It is a known fact that politicians call the shots at the BMC and other development related bodies, when it comes to developing the city. Giving work to favoured contractors, in some cases even black listed ones, sanctioning works to suit their constituency, zero consideration to development where there is no reciprocal vote bank, holding back opening of completed flyovers for months after completion just to satisfy their huge egos, are regular ploys of most politicians.”