They leave homes everyday to go to school putting their innocent lives to risk everyday. No matter where the state might be taking Mumbai’s progress and development, thousands of school children of Mankhurd and Govandi walk through harbor line railway tracks. And when parents talk of tragic stories of loosing their children in accident on the tracks while going to school, one compelled to believe that the state’s plans, progress and investments in skywalk like projects are for areas where the rich live. If you think these students are walking on railway tracks that are not functional, think again – for trains pass through these tracks every five minutes. But despite the dangers that this poses to their lives, call it the courage of students or compulsion of fate, that students fearlessly tread the tracks to go to school everyday. And not a few tens, but thousands of students have to commute to school like this. These students know that walking on tracks in very dangerous but they point out that without a skywalk or over bridge they have no choice at all. A mother who lost two sons on these tracks says that now she lives looking at her daughters. Some parents who have seen and heard horrifying stories of children loosing their lives on the tracks choose to accompany their children to school. It was shocking to hear children informing us that they were witness to their friends dying in accidents on the tracks. One parents said that life has been so testing for decades but no one has ever come to check on their pain and grief. Now take a look at this child who knows the dangers of walking on the track so chooses a little less risky alternative, if that’s one can call this gutter pipeline. Looking at children of such poor background fighting against not just fate but the apathetic system exposes the false accusations and failed initiatives of the state education department that often passes the buck of blame for the number of illiterate students on the students and their parents. It also compels one to believe that what are leaders often boast off is nothing less than fooling the masses if not some classes. For example, take a look at what Congress Leader Gurudas Kamat is boasting off here. According to Gurudas Kamat, the state has invested 40, 000 Crore on Mumbai alone, then nothing justifies the dangerous test the state is putting these students to everyday. And despite this the Chief Minister continues to make tall claims in all his public appearances. How hollow everything that the Chief Minister says is evident when one looks at the innocent faces of these students. Despite the MCGM having a budget of over Rs. 16, 000 Crores and MMRDA investing another thousands of Crores on metro rail, mono rail and over Rs. 500 Crore for the skywalk project, the negligence and apathy seen at Govandi and Mankhurd justifies the blames of this poor community who say that their leaders and administration discriminates between the rich and the poor. And despite the painful discrimination that the poor live with, the Chief Minister who might have never under the bitter realities of the poor says that the Congress’s hand is with the common man. Looking at how the villagers of Bendse village in Karjat walk on ropes to cross a river and innocent children tread dangerous railway tracks, one knows that the Congress hand is definitely not with the common man. It is but for capitalists, the rich and schemes like SEZs, SRAs and skywalks – all projects that stink of corruption and vested interests. As far as the common man is concerned, the Congress hand that all believed will support the common and the poor is now strangulating them.
September 24, 2014