What a Morning !…. Wife and I left residence at 9.30 am to go to Siddhi Vinayak Temple and St Anthony and Infant Jesus, like we do every Tuesday… we entered heavy Traffic on Peddar Road itself and right till Worli we saw the traffic piling up on the other side moving towards South Mumbai…. clearly this was abnormal and we were unaware as to what could have caused it
We reached our residence at 12.30 pm, after a gruelling three hours in traffic… normally we would have done this in half an hour… we opted to divert via Parel, Lalbaug, Clare Road, Nagpada, Mumbai Central and Tardeo, only to rejoin the bumper to bumper at Haji Ali… then we diverted via Warden Road and were stuck 45 min on it… we squeezed into a one way lane, or else we would have taken a hour more !
It would be foolish to venture to go to office now in the Fort Area
The trouble fermented because of the New Era School Problem… This school is on Hughes Road, just past the Kemps Corner Flyover… a few weeks ago the protests were on the sidewalk outside the school
But today it was a ‘Rasta Roko’ by the Children who study here and their Parents… they had blocked the Main Road by lying across it, supported by the local MLA Mangal Lodha…. Police seem to have been taken completeLy unawares of this Road Block…. Traffic is at a virtual standstill for several kms moving into South Mumbai… half an hour runs are taking three hours
The trouble has been brewing for a few months now and the anger boiled over when the School Authorities, influenced by the Agarwals of Orbit and the Birla Group shifted 800 SSC students to a building on DN Road, near my office under the excuse that the School Building needed urgent repairs
The real cause apparently was that they have commenced IB Classes too… Fees for these run into several lakhs, while the SSC Stream fees are a few thousand… so clearly this shift appears to be a commercial decision
The parents went to court and despite the Mumbai High Court ruling in their favour, the Birlas approached the Supreme Court… This Apex court directed the Director of Education, based in Pune to make a decision by Monday, July 27, 2009… This did not happen as therefore this ‘Rasta Roko’ on Tuesday… The Director has been granted a ten day extension by the Apex Court but the Maharashtra CM has asked him to decide by 11 am on Wednesday, July 29, 2009 if the shift is necessary….. if it is then it must be made under condition that the students are moved back once the Building is fit