Naming of roads and fly-overs has become a virtual battleground for political parties, each trying to upstage the others.

A few weeks ago here in Mumbai, the Shiv Sena won a victory of sorts by “inaugurating” the Navghar Flyover in Mulund (East) ahead of schedule and naming it after a person of its choice’.

The Shiv Sena was angry at the government’s decision to name the the Bandra-Worli Sea Link after Rajiv Gandhi instead of after Veer Savarkar. So it went ahead of schedule and named the Mulund flyover after policeman Prakash More, who had died fighting terrorists at Cama and Albless Hospital during the Mumbai terror attacks on November 26, last year.

There was an interesting news report in DNA yesterday, according to which, “The Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) undertaking plans to have bus-stops in Mumbai named after you, at a stiff price, of course.”

Controversies over naming roads and flyovers have become outmoded, it seems, now people will fight over naming bus stops!

According to this proposal, the BEST will advertise the naming of a bus stop. Interested parties may then file their nominations. The right to name the particular bus stop will go to the highest bidder at an auction which will be held for the purpose.

This proposal, if passed, will open up some other very interesting possibilities- apart from the chance for government officials to accept bribes at every step of the auction process!

Local leaders in political parties will be eager to grab the rights to bus stops in their area. Wonder whether they will name them after themselves, or after their political ‘bosses’?

Want to please your party leaders? Simple. Name a bus stop after them! And choose the colour of the name plate according to the party- saffron, red, blue, green or multicoloured!

I wonder whether only new bus stops will be named in this manner, or even the names of existing bus stops will be auctioned? If so, then travelling by bus in Mumbai will become an adventure of sorts!

How easy to remember the names of bus stops when they are named after local landmarks! If this proposal passes, people will have to guess which person the stop is named after. And it may be named after not only a prominent personality, but after anyone who has the money to bid the highest in the auction! Maybe even after a fictional character. We may well have bus stops named after Munnabhai MBBS, if a fan of the movie buys the rights to them.

According to the proposal, the rights to name a bus stop will be held for 10 years by the buyer. What if the buyer decides to change the name every year- that will certainly be confusing!

If a political party worker buys the rights to a particular bus stop, names it after a leader and then switches parties- then of course he will have to rename it and change the colour of the name plate at the same time!

A naming convention is a a set of generally accepted norms for naming things. The intention is to enable users to deduce useful information from the names. Names are supposed to make it easy for the public to navigate structures.

Logic dictates that bus stops should be named after local landmarks which would be useful for the traveller.

Of course, that is only if we assume that the BEST wants to make things easy for the traveller!