Sunday, 27 January 2008

Elevated Roadways and Railways in Delhi

It appears that not only will Delhi get an elevated roadway from the Akshardham temple to New Delhi Railway Station, but that South Delhi will have the doubtful joy of an elevated corridor of the Metro running through the Lajpat Nagar-Nehru Place stretch of the Delhi-Badarpur line. However, the resident's welfare associations (RWAs) of South Delhi have yet to hear from the High Court, although the Group of Ministers, headed by Pranab Mukherjee, has insisted on the elevated corridor, due to time and budget constraints. They say that construction of an underground link will take too long--the Metro link to Badarpur must be ready by 2010. This despite the RWAs' concerns regarding noise levels (which will be heeded) and other health hazards, and despite the support of Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit. Let's see what the High Court has to say about this.
About the Akshardham-New Delhi Railway Station link, there are worries that the entire road would be elevated, with few options for those who wish to travel to points between the two terminals. These worries need to be addressed. Another issue that faces those of us living close to the roadway selected for the high capacity bus service--which part of the roadway will the bus service occupy? It's normal for buses to take the lanes closest to the pavements or kerbs on the roadside, but I've actually seen bus stands being constructed in the middle of the road! Will there be enough road space for the cars that travel from South Delhi to Central Delhi? I understand that there has been no feasibility study done for the project, since everyone was in a tearing hurry to get things ready for 2010.

Saturday, 19 January 2008

Another Year--but the Same Old Problems

So the New Year arises from the ashes of the old--what with Benazir Bhutto’s assassination and the appointment (or the anointing of her son Bilawal as her successor as PPP Chairman). If the Americans congratulate themselves on their comparative woman-friendliness and their democratic credentials, they should look at this analysis of Hillary Clinton’s victory by Susan Faludi--she shows how Clinton exemplifies the competent care that Hillary Clinton and women of her generation exemplify, the kind of care a mature state such as the United States requires. My dream team would be Clinton-Obama--let us hope it does come to pass and does not remain a dream.

Looking homeward, it was good to know that twelve people were convicted in the Bilquis Bano case in Gujarat. However, it was horrible to read about the schoolgirl who was raped in Unnao in UP. It is appalling that a teacher would use a position of trust in such a manner. No wonder UP figures as one of the BIMARU states (Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh) with these kinds of attitudes prevailing amongst those of its inhabitants who are fortunate enough to have an education and a job. Fortunately for the girl, even though her family hesitated to go to the police, her friends at school did not hesitate to beat up the perpetrators, which led to the police being called in. Of course, one of the accused claims that he has been arrested on false charges.

The right wing, too, does not seem to have changed its tactics--it seems to feel that might is right, witness the ransacking of NDTV offices in Ahmedabad. Evidently, the right cannot use words and logic in place of bricks and fists to make a point. And until it does learn to use words and logic sanely to make its point, the right will not be taken seriously by the middle class.

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I work as a freelance editor and writer in New Delhi. 


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