Earlier this week, my optimism about the infrastructure situation in India (see e.g. this) took a severe beating as I struggled to get to a meeting in downtown Mumbai crawling through what seemed like an endless chaos of traffic and road construction.
** Don’t get me wrong – I’m usually very charitable about these things…(and of course India is a weak spot!) but what really got me was not the 1hr 40min drive – I was far luckier than almost everyone else on that journey, travelling in comfort and not having to make this trip everyday – but the appalling loss of productivity and the drain on energy caused by this.
As I sat watching the stop-start-stop pattern around me, I could not but help thinking how these infrastructural bottlenecks were making the whole system terribly inefficient…roads and traffic are not the only problem, Mumbai is also facing a severe power shortage as I write this.
I was also in Bangalore and New Delhi a few days back – and although both these cities have their share of infrastructure woes, I am afraid Mumbai’s traffic problem has snowballed over the last few years.
When I mentioned about this to some friends, the response I got was: “Its not so bad because everyone factors it in while planning their day; we know its bad” 🙁
Some more thought suggested that at least one reason why people may not get as agitated as I did could be because they use the time to make phone calls and generally catch up (if they are travelling with someone). In fact, for politicians and businessmen, giving interviews-on-the-go is becoming more & more common as commute takes up an increasingly bigger chunk of a productive day.
And yet I remain hopeful….as the old slogan goes, Mera Bharat Mahaan!
* loose translation: “My India is Great”!
** Image Courtesy: http://www.physics.mcgill.ca/~kildea/india05/india05-tab.htm