Sunday, October 09, 2011

Lucknow Metro: Don't mind if it is needed or not!

There was a 'Bhoomi Poojan' ceremony of a new upcoming township with 'modern amenities like club house, restaurant, gym' and 'just 15 minutes from proposed Metro station'.

Well I won't blame you if you didn't know about Metro rail being proposed in Lucknow. Like every middle class Indian once aspired to own a Maruti 800, every state capital aspires to have a Metro of its own and believes it has really good reasons to have one. Lucknow is one of them. Kochi, Jaipur, Hyderabad, Kanpur are few others.

I don't know the reasons they are pushing to pass Lucknow Metro as an inevitable mean to solve Lucknow's traffic problems but whatever and however flimsy they are, I know they are not going to be challenged. Even though more than half of the city's road remain encroached, causing massive traffic snarls and traffic police appears only at few VIP junctions and no alternatives are suggested to this massively expensive option, Lucknowites are made to believe that Metro is their only savior.

Unlike Delhi or Bangalore or Hyderabad where there have been debates over viability and necessity of Metro and how the construction will affect the city's heritage and existing transportation mechanisms and commuting patterns, there is going to be no voice asking questioning anything that is going to be fed to press (that is under the thumb of the Government anyway!).

I don't blame the people. Any announcement that is 'perceived' to be related to 'development' is lapped up by people who are hungry to see any kind of development. So much that even if it means massive amount of money that is going to be swindled (and which is perhaps the only reason for some of these projects!) or cause damage to environment is accepted without any murmur. Any protest, if ever, takes place only if the development is hurting their own interests in any manner.

Secondly, Delhi is the ultimate role model for Lucknow and any thing that Delhi has, seems to be a must-have for Lucknowites! Even if Lucknow is just a fraction of Delhi in terms of population and area, they must have a Metro.

Also the fact that there is hardly any interface which promotes dialogue and partnership among people and Government over the issues that concern the city, is a major reason that no discussion or debate ever takes place.

So whenever Lucknow Metro materializes and at whatever costs, both tangible and intangible in terms of cost to heritage and environment, no one will mind it.