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Mumbai underground

THE monorail’s second phase, from Wadala to Jacob Circle, is one of the latest casualties of the lack of coordination.

(NOT) WORKING TOGETHER  THE monorail’s second phase, from Wadala to Jacob Circle, is one of the latest casualties of the lack of coordination between different agencies. The MMRDA had not taken into consideration the Central Railway’s future expansion plans of adding a fifth and sixth line while designing to take the monorail over the railway line at Currey Road. It had to rework the design nearly five years after starting work on the project. However, MMRDA officials are not ready to accept the blame for the coordination gap. Those working on the project say, in the various stages of clearances, railway officials themselves had given MMRDA the idea that the plan to add extra lines near the Currey Road station was in all likelihood never going to take off and that the MMRDA could ignore it. Hence, the monorail design was cleared at all levels within the Central Railway over the past three years, but was sent back to the drawing board when it reached the topmost level of scrutiny at the Commissioner of Railway Safety’s office.

TREE TALK  THE police fraternity has its own lexicon of slang words, and the most used word among policemen till last week was jhaadakhali or “under the tree”. Jhaadakhali is police slang for the predicament of  policemen who have been transferred or promoted, but have not been told their new posting yet. It is also a reference to homeless people who have to take shelter under a tree. Over the past couple of weeks, several officers from sub Inspector to assistant commissioner levels were either transferred or promoted, but had been waiting for their new postings since. It had become a common practice for colleagues to ask them, “Still under the tree?” whenever their paths crossed. On Thursday, the officers were finally given their new postings and were able to say, “not under the tree anymore!”

‘STANDING’ SPACE  For the past few weeks, the standing committee meeting at the BMC is literally living up to its name. The committee hall, where the meetings are generally held, is under renovation and the new hall is much smaller than the usual one. This forces many civic officials and reporters who regularly cover the meets to stand for hours together, jostling for space.  The small space also proved a hindrance during a dramatic walk-out staged by the opposition leaders over water cuts in the city, as they had to find a way through reporters and other civic officials standing in the hall last week.

TEST OF LOYALTY EVEN as civic officials are seen defending the BMC for any complaint levelled against the civic body, heavy rains lashing the city over the past few days have taken a toll even on these ‘loyal’ officials. A civic employee working in the health department in low-lying areas of Parel kept complaining about the BMC’s inefficiency in tackling water-logging just outside the department’s office. BMC’s public health department has a few departments situated around a stone’s throw away from its main office located in F/South ward. “We have to often visit the main office for getting signatures. Nowadays, we time our visits according to the rains. Whenever it is raining heavily, water accumulates till knee level and we have to wait,” said an exasperated official, who contemplated whether to wade through the knee-high waters to get papers signed from the head office.

Automatic ‘push’ ALTHOUGH automatic door-closing in local trains is likely to be a reality in the city in the next few months, the possible reaction from commuters is already giving nightmares to security agencies safeguarding the  railways. With news that automatic door-closing in local trains will be piloted in compartments reserved for women commuters, many officers are already fretting that  the door-closing system might become more a headache than a safety provision for commuters. A senior railway board official remarked that suburban railways will probably have to employ ‘pushers’ to push commuters inside the train for the doors to get closed and the train to start.

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