Traffic: The fulcrum of a Mumbaikar’s Quality of Life

July 21, 2014

Mumbai is a city famous for the fact that it never sleeps. But today we can say so because an average Mumbaikar spends long hours ranging from 3 to 5 hours of daily quality life on the road travelling to workplace and back.

The financial capital of the country has got a deal that’s nothing but RAWwhen it comes to the governance working on its lifeline – Traffic!

In the past 60 years the vehicle load has increased by 3700%,
while the road length by a mere 250%.

The figures speak volumes about the nightmare a Mumbaikar goes through everyday getting to office and then trying to get back home.

The question arises, has there nothing been done to ease this? Well, on paper there have been many schemes targeted to this cause. The latest one being Mumbai Metro 1 and Metro 2 in the pipeline.

Many such ambitious projects are in the pipeline, a few to name are…

  1. Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL)
  2. Passenger Water Transport Project West Coast & East Coast
  3. Versova Bandra Sea Link (VBSL)
  4. Multimodal Corridor from Virar to Alibag

Many authorities work towards this cause, with layer upon layer of bureaucracy being created over the years. To find which authority is responsible for a project is like peeling an onion, which leaves nothing but tears in one’s eyes. The list of authorities is endless likeGovernment of Maharashtra , MMRDA and MCGM to quote a few.

They talk a lot about the efforts they continuously keep putting in with no apparent output. One tends to wonder, if their efforts are only for PROJECTION and not for IMPACT on a citizen’s life?


One recent burning example is that of the Mumbai Metro I. Launched with great fanfare, flopped with the first shower itself; was it really for the citizen, or launched only to be claimed as a milestone in October elections? A project that was supposed to take 3-4 years took approximately 6 years to complete!

Thousands of Crores of Taxpayer’s money is going down the drain, and into the pockets of a corrupt few. The way the process of Metro II project is going on, it is clearly headed for disaster from an economic and efficiency point-of-view.

Let us take a look at the Mumbai Metro Project, an ambitious 15 year project that began in 2006 and was supposed to be completed in 2021 in 3 phases, namely

  1. Phase 1: 2006-2011
  2. Phase 2: 2011-2016
  3. Phase 3: 2016-2021

And where are we today?

The first phase that too only Line 1 between Versova to Ghatkoper opened in June 2014, a whopping 2 years behind schedule.

Work on Phase 2 that was to begin in 2012 is mired in controversies and the project is yet to begin…

Phase 1 is half cooked, and the way Metro 2 is being handled raises many uncomfortable questions as below.

  1. In Phase 1 – Line1- Only 11 KM opened (out of the planned 62kms )after 2 years delay and double cost over-run? Who is accountable? The cost at 2012 prices was INR 2356 crores which escalated to INR 4321 crores.
  1. The plan of Phase 1 –Line 2 which was originally Colaba-Bandra-Charkop was revised first time to Mankhurd-Bandra-Charkop and again revised to Mankhurd- Bandra-Charkop-Dahisar line. This project shows cost escalation from INR. 7660 crores in 2012  to INR. 28900 crores as of today in 2014 and that too on the drawing board. Escalation of four times during this period.

This raises a few questions which I can’t hold myself from asking.

  • What is the legitimacy of the first feasibility study?
  • Who has approved this amount of massive escalation?
  • Why was such a huge project being awarded to a sole bidder?
  • Does this sole bidder have a compelling experience base to justify this move?
  • Why did the other bidders drop out in the financial bid stage?

The whole episode reeks of Corporate Collusion”.The State Government of the day seems to have forgotten that the citizen is the true master to be served.

The inaction of the current governance by State Government has been affecting the Mumbaikar’ s daily life; he spends 3-5 hours i.e180 – 300minutes every day travelling to and from workplace, when by global standards this should not take more than 80-90 minutes a day. This travel is at snails speed and also in dangerous travel conditions due to overcrowding of public transport and railways. This leads to 3D’sDiseases, Death andDisputes leading to Divorce.

It is unfortunate that in face of blatant failures like Metro 1. There is NO ACTION.

Was it a system failure or is Someone Responsible.

As a citizen want to know WHO IS RESPONSIBLE for this quality of life I am forced to live in Mumbai.

The delays and cost escalations have already resulted in Lakhs of Croresof productivity lossThousands of Crores of fuel overspend and Hundreds of Crores of Forex lost to the exchequer.

New York has 50 Lakh vehicles, Beijing has 20 lakhs and we all know the infrastructure they have to support the citizens while managing such vehicular load.

The number of vehicles in Mumbai is expected to reach 75 Lacs by 2024 – we have seen what has happened in the last ten years, this governance has clearly failed to deliver at every level.

It’s time for people to vote for a government that can and has the intent to create the required infrastructure.

I fear Mumbaikars have now started reconciling to these travel conditions as a part of life. It’s time for Mumbai to Start Living and Stop Existing.

Time for the Mumbaikar to vote for a Better Life and question the authorities.

To join the cause tweet out with below #MumbaiMetroMess

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