Sunday, June 19, 2011

Saga of the Wrong Turn !

And hereby hangs a tale of my tangles with the bureaucracy, popularly known as Babudom.

(The photo in the diagram shows the movement on the bridge OVER the LBS Marg )



I frequently travel the Eastern Express Highway , and take a left turn to go home over the LBS Marg, an old arterial road over which the new fly-over goes. I have often noticed a signage (as you approach the flyover) there that instructs you to turn right for a place called Mulund. (An inconspicious much smaller blue board, away to one side (right) , asks you to kind of veer leftward for LBS Marg; no mention of where you can go from there )

A normal, non genius, non telepathic human would keep to the right. And be disgusted to find out that there was no right turn on the flyover, and once you crossed over the LBS Marg , Mulund was a gone case.

It occurred to me that someone should indicate that it was necessary to keep left, exit the flyover on to LBS Marg below, and then take a right turn , to go to Mulund (which was how all normal stupid humans went to Mulund in the pre-flyover technologically backward days.).

Without this , a newcomer to this area, would brave the unruly traffic to keep right, and look for a right turn to Mulund that would never come.

And so I took a picture (shown above) and emailed it to the Joint Commissioner of Police(traffic). I reproduce the communications below:

----------------------------------------------me to jcptraffic------
dateMon, Feb 28, 2011 at 4:49 PM
subjecterroneous directions on important road

Dear Shri Vivek Phansalkar Sir,

I have lived in this Powai area for the last 33 years, and have occasion to travel home often from the Eastern express Highway turnoff for Kanjurnarg.

While travelling towards Powai, and just before the bridge over LBS Marg at Gandhi Nagar, they have put up very prominent sign saying " Mulund " along with a right arrow.

This is actually a wrong sign and has caused many problems.

This is a misleading sign, that would make motorists think that there is a turning up ahead on the right, and that they should keep right.

In reality, they need to keep in the left most lane and exit left below and before the bridge on LBS Marg , from where they need to take a right turn.

The sign should actually say , "Mulund : keep left, and exit"

I am enclosing a picture of the mislleading sign taken while travelling from the Eastern Express Highway to Powai.

I would be grateful if you could actually travel and see this for yourself, and arrange to rectify the matter at an early date.

Thank you.

---------------------------------------reply from jcptraffic to me----

fromVivek Phansalkar, Joint Commissioner of Police, Traffic
dateSat, Mar 5, 2011 at 2:03 PM
subjectReply to your mail dated 28th Feb, 2011


Thanks for your email.

I've taken note of it and directed my office to do the needful. It will be
communicated to MMRDA/MCGM (agency concerned) to effect necessary changes
in the signages.


Vivek Phansalkar,
Joint Commissioner of Police,
Traffic, Mumbai

-----------------------------------------------ghatkopar police to me --------------------
dateTue, Jun 14, 2011 at 6:45 PM
subjectProminent sign saying “Mulund” along with a right arrow at JVLR Bridge.

Respected Madam,
Kindly refer to your email Dtd. 28/02/2011 with regard to very
prominent sign saying “Mulund” along with a right arrow at
JVLR Bridge.
In this connection it is informed that we persued the matter
to M.S.R.D.C. When Executive Engineer Shri.Pampanvar visited
the site and inspected the Board and cleared that the said
sign is right, because it is presumed that there is “No Right
Turn” after flyover at anywhere.So motorist should keep this
in mind while passing through and also he further cleared that
they clearly mentioned “Use Flyover”below the name
So in case of any doubt or complaint you are requested to
contact M.S.R.D.C.
Thanks for your kind co-operation.

Ghatkopar Traffic Chowky,

--------------------------------------------------my reply-----

This is not acceptable to me. As a taxpayer , I insist on proper signs.

If I am travelling from eastern express Highway to Powai for the first time , how can I presume whether there is a right turn or no ? If I do not know where Mulund is, being a first time driver there, should not there be a guiding sign ? The sign should clearly show a left exit to LBS Marg followed by a right turn towards Mulund. Please let me know how I can contact the concerned person at MSRDC.

If all signs are based on what motorists "presume", why are we not allowed to park anywhere we "presume" across Mumbai ?

Kindly advise.

mrs xxx

-----------------------------------------------------end of head banging frustrated emails---

Questions :

1. What happens if it is a first time visitor to Mumbai, who wants to go to an unknown destination Mulund ?

2. Who presumes ? The MSRDC expert, the police, the MMRDA or the first time visitor who gets an sudden epiphany about Mumbai roads ?

3. "it is clearly mentioned "Use Flyover" for Jogeshwari ".....

Are Mumbai roadsigns only for people who have been around Mumbai before ? Do we have no thought for troubles faced by a person coming into Mumbai for the first time ?

If I am visiting Mumbai for the first time, and dont know where Jogeshwari is with respect to where I need to go, eg Mulund, does it help to suddenly confuse me with other names ? Does this tell me anything about other points west where the flyover may take me , like Andheri, Marol, SEEPZ, Vile Parle etc etc ?

4. Who decides Mumbai signages ? Is there any testing done with signages ? And is the testing necessarily done by someone who is not involved in the signage placement ?

Years ago when I was in IT, it was impressed on us that software testing was done by people other than the people who wrote the software .

This is true regardless of whether you are doing IT, civil construction, or judging a bharatnatyam dance show.

How many more years of communications must I dedicate myself to before someone corrects this ? Given the abyssymal construction quality (recent potholes on highly touted Lalbaug flyover a day after CM inaugurated it; enquiry ordered) of Mumbai roads, can I hope to have this problem rectified in my lifetime ? Unless of course they disable the flyover itself for the usual repairs ?

I am now Googling MSRDC to find out who I must contact there. Any tips welcome.

Stay tuned for the further exciting chapters in the Saga of Wrong Turn !

P. S. Someone mentioned the use of RTI (Right to Information Act) to find out if the folks who designed signage in Mumbai were given any training . If so, where, at what cost, and who were selected for it . If not, why not ?

Why do I want to know ?

I pay Municipal tax, enhanced gas prices 5 times a year (eg this year), consume unjustified extra gas because of traffic hold ups due to unclear signage, not to mention massive wear and tear on the vehicle due to the totally unsatisfactory performance of road repairs department.

Need I say more . I must know where the tax rupees are going.

Those who agree are requested to email the authorities.


  1. Like the wheels of justice and the mills of God, bureaucracy grinds exceedingly slowly. This may not be fixed within your lifetime but, in the meanwhile, people are getting to Mulund somehow. If the signage is upsetting them, they will also write or email the authorities.
    Good for you, however, for championing the rights of other drivers.
    — K

    Kay, Alberta, Canada
    An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

  2. I am glad to see your efforts that you always take to ensure a few wrongs are set right.

    And some wrongs will take forever to set right. Like taking the left turn to Mulund !

    I have no idea where to write or how to take it further up. But you have a major point. I have myself been foxed several times by the 'presumption' that seems to populate the minds of those with responsibility to make our lives better!

  3. How nice that you actually took so much effort to get something rectified. And this is what saddens me. If we (an ordinary citizen) cannot get a simple sign-board changed, then how the hell are we going to do anything about our country? We are evidently struggling in red-tape and bureaucracy... how will our country make progress.....

  4. All I can say is Uff:( So utterly frustrating.
    I join you in the headbanging.Ouch- my poor head.

  5. Appreciate and Like how the blog is put to good use for general public and self. :)
    Thumbs up to you.

  6. reminds me of my grand-dad, he use to have this beleif that writing or talking to officers helped. I still rmemeber he would come to chandigarh to meet this minister that minister as something needed doing in the village or to someones house or some other vilalge.

    Never got tired.. Once I remember the Then CM Mr Brar of punjab, he was my grand-fathers good friend, say to my grand pa.. Why is he running around at his age for someone else and tagging me along with him, if he wants anything for himself he will get it done right now... and granddad says to him Eh ve taan apne hi ne ...

    Good to see you do that , i hope things get changed as you said. it will take time to get rid of the BABUDOM..