Monday, May 14, 2012

Scam alert: Noise barriers

MMRDA has earmarked over 37 crore rupees this year for the construction of sound barriers on flyovers. The idea was mooted in 2010, and the following year, "Metropolitan Commissioner Rahul Asthana and former Municipal Commissioner Subodh Kumar went on a weeklong tour to Italy to study, among other infrastructure projects, sound barrier technology". Now that junkets are behind them, there will be a 'noise mapping exercise', from which MMRDA officials will receive a cut. Following this, the installation of the sound absorbers will provide an even bigger payoff. Once the barriers are in place, their dimpled surfaces will be leased out for advertising, as has happened on the J J flyover, the first in the city to be endowed with noise mitigating tech. Of course, sticking posters in front of sound absorbers renders them ineffectual, but their effectiveness isn't a real concern for the MMRDA anyway. The agency contracted to use that space for ads will also factor kickbacks to municipal employees in its budget.
Five years from now, the Suman Nagar and Navghar flyovers will be as noisy as ever, the city's visual clutter will have been augmented, and wallets of MMRDA executives and their favourite contractors will be considerably fatter.

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