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Millennium Post

Bombay satire

It is a scathing comment on the state of affairs in this country. Less than a month after starting operations, Mumbai Metro, the newest and most state-of-the-art public transit system in India’s commercial capital, constructed by a consortium led by none other than the richest man in India – Mukesh Ambani – buckled under pressure in the wake of Mumbai’s rain madness. As the financial hub of the country welcomed the monsoons, delayed by several days in all over the country, photos of the spanking new Mumbai Metro rail experiencing water leakage as commuters look on were posted online and went viral on the microblogging site Twitter. Even though unsubstantiated, the images show how air conditioning ducts on the trains caused rain water to seep in and pour on the hapless travelers, as the city, reeling under a long dry spell, finally woke up to heavy downpour earlier this week. That the Rs 4,351-crore worth project, a public-private-partnership, touted as the face of 21st century India and its superpower ambitions, failed so egregiously to withstand the torrential Mumbai showers, something the old city has experienced forever, is one more slap on the face of crony capitalism that has hollowed out the already wobbly infrastructural works in this country.
    Last year, the then Anil Ambani-owned Airport Line of Delhi Metro witnessed glaring glitches, after which Reliance Infra, burdened under huge debt that it couldn’t repay, callously decided to discontinue its partnership with Delhi government. Not only did the decision heavily compromise corporate India’s ability to provide developmental support to the government as part of PPP projects, it also called into question the very model itself, which is withering by the day because of the tendency to only focus on super-profits within the private sector. Unless the union government takes cognisance of these recurring problems, there seems to be no respite for the aam aadmi, whether in Delhi or Mumbai.       
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