Monday, December 31, 2007

Mumbai 2007 – the year that we forget tomorrow

Or as I like to call it 2007 – The Mumbai That Wasn’t.

No round-up or curtain-raiser this time, instead, here are 10 things that Mumbai didn’t get in 2007.

10. Mumbai Metro – More than a year after being flagged off, no work has started on the Mumbai Metro. Meanwhile Delhi Metro completed 5 years in 2007.

9. The Bandra Worli Sealink – This project has seen it all, cost over-runs, delays and stoppage of work. Originally conceived in 1962, the project will – hopefully – get completed by end-2008.

8. The Mumbai Transharbour Sea Link – This one hasn’t even got a contractor as yet. Brothers Ambani are fighting over it and perhaps one of them will get it in 2008.

7. Traffic – Actually we got loads and loads of traffic. But no solution. As for TRANSFORM – “Transport Study for the Region of Mumbai”, it will soon be a year since their forlorn website was updated.

6. Better trains – While we did get a few new, shiny trains (but it will also take 3 years for 157 more of these to come), trains only got more crowded, forcing commuters to boycott train travel for a day.

5. Electricity – We had to beg and borrow from neighboring states because we’re consuming far, far more than we can get. 24x7 electricity might get short circuited come summer 2008. Batti bandh?

4. Roads – Neither the Santacruz-Chembur Link Road nor the Jogeshwari-Vikhroli Link Roads got completed in 2007. Both are between 3-4 year overdue.

3. Wide Open Spaces – are now an endangered species. Builders and towers are passé because this year the BMC joined the gang, trying their best to push a shady policy to sell off our grounds.

2. Sane Politicians – The Shiv Sena ranting against ULCRA repeal and Narayan Rane baying for Vilasrao’s Deshmukh’s chair; both these acts eclipse every other inane antic resorted to by Mumbai’s politicians.

1. Affordable Housing – The good news is that property rates didn’t shoot up double once again in 2007. The bad news is no one expects them to come down in 2008. Towers will come up (Mill Lands, Dharavi ) and open spaces (grounds, salt pans) will vanish. But your dream house sure ain’t getting cheaper next year.