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   Now that the Churchgate subway is completed... (July 16, 1991)

Now that the Churchgate subway is completed, the lookout for an apporprate VIP to inaugurate it.

As official of the municipal corporation was telling me about the search. "Normally, it would have been simple, Mr. Sharad Pawar would have inaugurated it. He would have mumbled some words, cut the ribbon, and walked through the tunnel. Unfortunately, he is very busy with defence matters, so we can't get him."

"What about the present chief minister, what's-his-name" I asked.

"You need somebody, with a little more experience," the official said. "Inauguration the subway is not like anagurating a bridge or the Konkan railway line."

"Yes, I suppose so," I said. "What about Mr. Pasricha? After all, it does come under traffic, and it will be his traffic policeman who will have to man it."

"No, not Mr. Pasricha, he has been very critical of the subway from the start, he was very concerned that his traffic on Churchgate Street was blocked while it was under construction without disturbance to the traffic."

"Isn't there anybody else?" I asked.

"There is the mayor, but do we want the mayor to anagurate the subway! And there is the sheriff, but ever since Mr. Nana Chudasama stopped being the sheriff, nobody knows who the sheriff is. We tried to find out, but it was impossible."

"Why not get the prime minister!" I said. "It would be fitting if the prime minister opens the first subway with shops in the first city in the country. If would be an example to the nation of what municipalities given the will and encouragement, can do."

"If Mr. Chandra Shekhar was the prime minister, we would have got him. An excuse and he would fly down to Bombay, leaving the formation of economic policies to Mr. Subramaniam Swamy. But Mr. Narasimha Rao refuses to come here. He wants to remain in Delhi and formulate his own economic policies."

"That's sad, " I said. "I don't suppose you want the governor to inaugurate the subway?"

"Let us keep the governor out of this," the official said. "We though of the President, but then we are not sure if he can stand the strain of climbing down all the steps, walking through the subway, then climbing up all the steps at the other end. Only citizens of Bombay can stand that strain."

"Then you are struck with a subway and nobody to inaugurate it," I said.

"Oh, we will eventually find somebody. What's the hurry," the official said. "After all, we have completed the subway well before time so its inauguration can wait a little."

 
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