At our various meetings with Municipal Corporators, Ward Officers and other Municipal and Police officials, we are frankly told time and again that rampant and widespread bribery is responsible for the prevailing chaos (ie. continuing occupation of legitimate pedestrian spaces by other elements). These officials themselves say that for a return to orderliness and discipline in our city, the biggest need of the hour is the awakening of citizens themselves!
WE MUST DO OUR DUTY AS CITIZENS BY RE-ASSERTING OUR RIGHT TO A CLEAN AND ORDERLY CITY, SAY MUNICIPAL AND POLICE OFFICIALS THEMSELVES. However, they are careful to say so in their individual capacities.
The future course of Satyagraha emerges more and more clearly before our eyes. Last year, the citizens of many ALMs in Orlem, Malad, decided that unless the MCGM learned to stop making excuses for shoddy work and started taking action, they would resort to non-payment of Municipal Taxes on a multi-society, area-wide level. They felt that it was necessary to serve a written ultimatum to the Municipal Corporation, and after the expiry of the ultimatum, stop paying municipal taxes on a wide scale.
Between May and August 2008, over 600 persons in Mumbai participated in Pedestrian Satyagraha over 36 times in various parts of Mumbai — Bandra, Borivli, Vile Parle, Mumbai Central, Chembur, Matunga Road – with support from a large number of civil organizations.
Once again, we urge the Municipal Corporation, Police and other urban planning agencies to kindly come up with fresh strategies to satisfy the need of a growing populace for a healthy, orderly city. Specifically, we urge them to immediately take the following steps:
a) Identify and summarily suspend the top 10 bribe-taking officials in their ranks, from top to bottom-level. This will send a clear message through the entire organization, and to the citizenry, that the days of corruption and hafta in this city are over.
b) Immediately take up all station-roads and trunk roads for implementation of 6-foot protected walkers lane on either side of the road.
c) Restrict movement of private vehicles on such high-traffic roads to give priority to pedestrians and public transport.
d) Concentrate efforts on re-organizing public spaces to make maximum space available for walking. The wasteful space consumption by hawkers and vehicle parking on roads must be severely curbed.
e) Pending such re-organization of our city’s spaces, place a 6-month moratorium on RTO registration of new private vehicles. Extend the moratorium period if necessary. Stop registering new vehicles pending detailed study of the space-usage by pedestrians ad formulation of a clear long-term policy for usage and allocation of public space that favours walking, bicycling and use of buses and trains.
f) There should be zero tolerance for open gutters and ditches, displaced traffic dividers, potholed footpaths, heaps of stony debris. Anybody responsible for leaving such public hazards unattended must be chargesheeted and dismissed, because such lapses are life-threatening. Currently, we have thousands of such public hazards strewn around the city. I urge the media to please send their cameramen around the city and photographically document this monumental negligence on the part of our civic authorities.