Sunday, May 31, 2009

Mumbai's urban infrastructure -- "like new" equals broken

This is how roads are “upgraded” under the World Bank-funded Mumbai Urban Infrastructure Project (MUIP). Note that this picture is an “after” picture, not a “before” one. This is the arterial Swami Vivekanand Road in suburban Mumbai. The paving is a couple of years old at most. The day I took this photo (Thursday, November 27, 2008), the broken curb was visible because there wasn't a car parked on it.

Mumbai's roads routinely get dug up by utility and phone companies for laying or fixing broken cables -- companies with no expertise to dig or rebuild a dug road. But then the Mumbai municipal authorities don't seem to know their head from their ass either. Result: senior citizens are under virtual house arrest (because the streets are too tough an obstacle course for arthritic knees and because curbs are non-existent or intermittent at best), and people who must walk/drive to go about their lives die when the road caves in. It's happened before, and it's going to happen again.

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