Sunday, May 17, 2009


This year it’s truly been a voting trend against corruption, false promises, those mixing religion with politics and negative elements.

This year we’d had more youth realizing their responsibility towards the nation and coming out in large numbers to vote. Even my youngest bro took a break from his work and came all the way from Pune to vote here.

Apart from that, rural India also made a large contribution to the votes. That’s because of the various Rozgar Yognas, which helped them in recent times.

Then who did not vote and why?

Of course, the vote percentage was lower in the cities and lowest in Mumbai. The reasons for low turnout in Mumbai were various.

First of all, it was because it touched a long weekend. Elections in Mumbai and Thane were on 30th April, 2009 which was followed by 1st May (holiday due to Mararashtra Day) followed by Sat-Sun. And that too when kids have their summer vacations! Who could resist such a temptation of going out of the city?

Reason No 2 –Due to recession, many companies had not given leave to most employees and everyone was expected to be present at work. And who would want to take a chance in such recessionary times when companies are looking for slightest of reasons to sack employees?! Inspite of being a banker and having a holiday, I was expected to be at work as I work in a centralized set-up for other parts of India. Even CMS centralized operations were working full-fledged in many banks. Except a few, many had come to work without voting, hoping to leave early and vote. Getting to leave early (as early as 4 pm to reach before 5 pm) seemed a distant possibility in banks where leaving time depends on volumes, which again are unpredictable. I reprimanded a few for not voting. Everyone gave some excuse, some even about having to come to work. But me thinks all top corporate honchos also do not vote apart from not encouraging their employees to vote. There is also a suggestion – The voting hours should be extended in Cities like Mumbai, where 5 pm means completion of only half a day. The ideal voting hours for Metro cities should from 7 am to 7 pm.

Marriage season was also one reason. Most people were out of town in their gaon attending some relative’s wedding or too busy within the city for the same reason. And for many Indian women, attending to their domestic and family responsibility is more important than their responsibility to the Nation.

And the most important question is- Is the percentage given out for Voting turnout to be believed? I am asking this question because we’ve moved to Mira Road some 6-7 years back, but the new inhabitants of our RBI quarters flat in Mumbai Central called us to inform us that voting numbers of all our family members have come this year also. Now this is two elections down the line! That set my mind ticking. This means that as new voters are added, old voters names are not re-verified for existence and their names are not struck out in case they have moved out. Likewise, so many Mumbaikars have moved to far suburbs in the recent years and added themselves as voters in their new areas. Many have formed new homes after marriage. And many girls also get married and add their names in their husband’s area, whereas their name continues in their old area as well. All such people continue to be counted as two. Half the percentage gets struck off there itself.

Whatever was the reason and whether people did vote or whether they did not, the end-result is crystal clear- Congress has won as a clear majority. This means that the youth of India want a stable government and appreciate their work toward economic growth. Those who understand economy and growth will appreciate India’s sustenance even during recession. The traders, especially the exporters will appreciate how the rupee was devalued to save the falling dollar to avoid much loss to them in conversion and at the same time foreign exchange kept flowing in. The RBI Interest subventions... The intelligent man knows, how inflation is being replaced with deflation (would like to have a full-length discussion of this later). And who could think better of such and many other economic reforms than Dr Manmohan Singh, who is an economist and ex-RBI Governer himself?

People have also voted against political elements that bring religion into Politics – whether belonging to any religion. Politics should purely deal with National Betterment and Religious work should be left to the Pundits and Maulvis.

PS : People in Mumbai / Thane and many parts of Maharashtra wondered why their second finger was being dabbed (literally! No cute dots, just messy lines) with voting ink instead of their first finger. That’s because in many parts of Maharashtra (including some Mumbai suburbs), municipal by-elections were held only recently. And the first finger was used for marking with voting ink then.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Changing Face of Mira Road Station

Pic 1 : The skywalk under contruction
Pic 2 : Outside the station

The last two years have seen a dramatic change in and around Mira Road Station. When we first came to live here around 6-7 years back, there was a small old ticket counter outside the platform. It was typical of small ticket windows of a small town. There was a tower-like structure (two huge poles) erected towards the right side as you got out of the station, depicting entrance to Shanti Nagar side. This was made by Ajmera Builders, if I am not wrong, which has more constructions on the Shanti Nagar side, while Naya Nagar side is mostly ruled by Asmita Builders. The first change was made around two years back, when the huge poles (entrance) were felled down, which I'd written about on my blog that time. An additional railway track was laid (which till today is not used for local trains, but implemented as promised to people beyond Borivali after much struggle). The old ticket counter structure was demolished, the outside stalls were razed, a overhead bridge was constructed and modern-day ticket counter was made on the bridge. The present counter has all the amenities available , including smart card machines and the local/ STD phones installed by Tata. After this change, the station outside looked more cleaner and spacious.

What you see in Pic 1 and 2 is Mira Road station as it is seen today. Below is the same place as it looked two years back.

Below is the old ticket counter structure, which has since been demolished
This picture was also taken almost two years back when the tower-like structure was felled

Before we could start enjoying the change, the spacious area was soon filled by hawkers selling fruits, vegetables and other stuff. This again is a speciality of almost all railways stations in Mumbai. Again some months ago more changes were planned, and digging started outside the station. To the left of Mira Road station as you stood facing the East (which is the only side which is inhabited by people), the leftmost side had a big pond-like swamp. This was almost like a gutter, attracting lot of mosquitoes and welcoming people who arrived at the Station. Called jokingly called Mira Road, 'Macchar Land'. Sometimes you could see sea-gulls there. But a year back, the work for filling up the swamp had begun and slowly that part has been concretised. After that work was over, RNA Builders had sealed up the left side for their construction work, which has started in full swing now. 2-3 months back, more digging started, making the approach road to the station from left side almost blocked. RNA construction on left side and the Sky Walk work on right side. Here, since the underground is swampy, the inner concretization was the initial step before starting the actual Sky walk work. While on the topic of Sky Walk, after the success of the Bandra Skywalk, there is a plan to have Skywalks at all the Mumbai stations, whether it is required there or not. The Bandra one was needed, but the others are just a need of some Neta. Even stations like Dahisar, which have a narrow road outside and does not even have a traffic congestion problem, are going to have a Sky Walk. Work has started and the many station roads at present are congested because of the work going on. The work is more in the stations beyond Borivali.

I'd gone outstation this weekend and on my return on Monday (11th May), was surprised to see the work of the Sky Walk almost taking shape. Some part of it was has been laid out. Good progress in two days ! I remember that there was another small gutter-like swampy area in the middle. And as we stood in the auto rickshaw line, mosquitoes greeted us from there. That was filled when the Phase 1 part of the work was completed almost a year and a half to two years back. The now has an enclosure and is smartly utilised for parking of two wheelers and cycles. Thankfully it was not given away for any building construction.

There's also one passage-way being made on the left of the station (attached to the platform). The roofs have been laid out already. Today I even saw painting work being done on the stairs leading to the foot-bridge.

Hoping to see a much better Mira Road station in the next couple of months.