No bridge for common man: Day Modi visited Assam, people faced trauma of VIP culture
Guwahati, May 29: It was a historic day for Assam, as the state got the country's longest river bridge--Bhupen Hazarika Setu--named after the famous cultural icon--over the mighty Brahmaputra river on Friday.
Official estimate stated that more than a lakh of people from various corners of Assam, especially the upper region of the state, through which the 9.15-km bridge passes through--came to witness the "momentous" occasion graced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
However, the happiness and excited of the commoners who wanted to have a glimpse of the bridge and the popular PM, had to trudge through various difficulties--including official apathy towards the public, massive traffic jams and bad roads leading to the main venue.
Several people who went to attend the event told the local media that it was a harrowing experience for them as they faced "discrimination" by the organisers. The locals were upset that while "VVIPs and VIPs" were given special treatment, the people of Assam for whom the bridge was constructed--as claimed by the government--were treated like second class citizens.
According to reports, four temporary roads to the pandal at the venue had been constructed--one for the VVIPs, two for the VIPs and the fourth one for the "common man".
The temporary road meant for the people was around 1.5 km and thus the visitors had to walk extra to reach the venue. Many complained that their return journey was quite a "horrible" experience, as they had to negotiate traffic congestion and there was no security measures arranged for the public.
Many, especially women and children, were forced to cross a flowing stream on foot to avoid massive traffic on roads close to the longest bridge.
The public faced immense difficulties in spite of the government spending around Rs 5 crore to construct the four temporary roads leading to the pandal at the venue. Reports say a huge amount of undisclosed public money was spent to host the mega-event that caused so much inconvenience to the tax payers.
The villagers, who had a terrible experience of government apathy towards the public, told reporters that the PM Modi government had to do a lot more to end the VIP culture.
"By removing red beacon from vehicles of the VIPs and doing away with the green corridor for ministers to evade traffic jams are not enough. Unless and until, the common man is not given due respect, the VIP culture is going to thrive," said a senior journalist, who works in a popular English newspaper in Guwahati.