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Open letter to R K Mishra !

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This is an open letter to Mr R K Mishra (Reg: Protest at HAL)

Mishraji, Greetings,

It gives me a great pleasure to write to you. It might be too late to congratulate you for winning the TOI's "Lead India" initiative. Now saw your post on protest for HAL airport.

"Tum Chalo to Hum Chalein". I hope you remember this line used by one of the fellow competitor in the TOI's Lead India program.

Mishraji, TOI has given you a celebrity platform and support to nurture your leadership talents. The unfolding of BIAL saga is a test environment where your leadership qualities will be put to test and evaluated. Now it is up to you, whether you have the foresight to do the right things and prove your claim to be a leader or somehow get lost in the HAL closure saga.

Usually leaders inspires the ordinary souls, even they inspire foes. Mahatma Gandhi was one such example. Leadership motivates people and puts confidence in ordinary people that they can do it – come what may.

But this initiative of yours “Protest for keeping the HAL airport running” doesn’t inspires me and I am sure many more will agree with me. I certainly doesn’t agree with your whole idea of single point agenda - oppose BIAL .

1. Your PIL listed connectivity as the one of the issue why you want the HAL to remain open. Your referenced note by Mr. Ravichandar (Feedack Consulting) an Infrastructure expert and coordinator of erstwhile BATF, tells the story otherwise.

…I repeat it is not about connectivity and travel time to BIAL which will be a hassle in the short term. It's about a few other issues I have tabled.

So now connectivity is not an issue any more.

2. You say you are not against BIAL. You are not against its early start. But your recent complain to Election Commission tells the story otherwise.

3. For argument case let’s say, HAL airports gets to remain open. It is now clear that it will not be at same competitive level as BIAL. We are now only talking of using HAL for short haul flights. Does by keeping HAL airport open, my commute time to HAL get any better? For a 7 km ride, at times I still need to spend 45-60 minutes. BBMP or NHAI is not investing in improving connectivity to HAL airport.

4. Even if I support you on this, does any of the BIAL’s shortcomings/hoodwiniking (if there are) go away permanently? Does HAL airport would improve to the level of world class? If BIAL class doesn’t cut ice with many of your friends, how does HAL will match upto the passenger expectations.

5. May be you and your industry friends know more about BIAL which I don’t. You might have genuine reasons for this fight. But in rational analysis, I don’t find much meat for spending energies on HAL issue.

A leader listens to their friends and foes alike. Leaders set aside their personal tastes and egos. For more common good they even set aside their bitterness with their rivals. They would not mind who does it as long as the objective is same or it is met in the end. They would latch onto any idea that could translate into common good. Here is one such suggestion.

Here let me put what should be the objective that we all should fight for.

A decent airport facility for passenger travel and cargo shipments.

Now how does this gets realized with BIAL in focus? If you take BIAL, HAL, Bidadi options into consideration, it is clear that at this moment BIAL has the highest advantages in terms of acquired land, supporting infrastructure like ATC, operational capability (better than HAL) etc. So BIAL has all the required elements to realize this goal. In the interim BIAL has produced something and everybody is taking a potshot against it. Both for and against it. I am sure it meets some part of our objectives. Then question is how do we go forward for realizing the remaining portions.

1. Get BIAL to expedite the 2nd Phase. More importantly the 2nd Runway. Your friends tell us that there are some hurdles put up by the Airforce. That needs to be resolved ASAP. Otherwise you loose both the time and BIAL investment.
2. Get BIAL to expand the terminal to support the growth that is being flashed in everyblog, newspaper and discussion forums.
3. Get BIAL to expedite all the infrastructure works for Cargo, Security personnel, amenities for Employees and staff member.
4. This may not be easy one, but you might have to use all your resources to make BIAL deliver the promised airport in one full piece. No less, No more. This might require even arm twisting of all the stake holders including MoCA, AAI, L&T and GOK (KSIIDC).
5. Get GOK, BMMP, NHAI and IR to improve the Connectivity – This definitely requires help from you industry friends. Focus should be on decongesting the traffic in the city that feeds the airport roads. Imagine the elevation of sufferings of common Bangaloreans on daily basis.

These are some of the elements that require leadership that can work for realizing this objective. You have a golden chance to prove your mettle and claims that were made for you. Do not let it get slipped due to HAL closure fight. You can have that fight going while you work on this much needed and beneficial project completion.

Let me tell you the story of Mekhri Circle. You might have read this many times. But this time, for true inspiration. Inyathullah Mekhri invested his own money to make a decent road from Mekhri Circle to Hebbal and beyond. The road did not benefit him personally. But he helped his fellow business men and farmers in delivering the goods without having to put up with their frequent bullock-cart break downs. He elevated the sufferings of poor souls from poorly laid and managed road. To me he is the unsung hero – A true leader.

In the end let me repeat that phrase:

“TUM CHALO TO HUM CHALEIN” – For BIAL, not for HAL.



Sincerely,

Khader Basha Syed

[Syed - removed your email id, readers can always contact you via the contact form - Admin]

Comments

silkboard's picture

Some more points (and Hosur?)

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I have been keeping myself from writing a similar note Syed, but now that you have, let me add.

What is most intriguing in all this (TOI propagated movement) is the lack of consistent reasoning amongst the big-wigs who seem to be batting for HAL. As you noticed right here, Mr Misra's 2nd point (connectivity) is refuted by Mr Ravichandar himself:

"Finally, I repeat it is not about connectivity and travel time to BIAL"

If you remember, the High court, even when asking govt to talk to BIAL, said very clearly that connectivity can't be the grounds.

Mr Misra rightly talks about potentially unfair UDF of Rs 650 and Rs 1000. Now, with the power of RTI, let us all check if BIAL is being greedy in trying to shorten the gestation period, and pressure them for lower UDF. Also, funnily enough, note how Mr Ravichandar talks about competitive pricing of fares if HAL were to be open:

"... Rs 5500 at HAL ... vs Rs 4200 at BIAL for Bangalore Mumbai ..."

So, Rs 1300 of fare difference, vs Rs 650 UDF for this domestic flight. Hmmm, I see ... pay Peter instead of Paul.

About Mr Misra's point #1, BIAL is under capacity. Let us all not claim to be overnight aviation experts. As Mr Ramesh Ramanathan is rightly saying, let us get an independent (as in not sponsored by CityConnect, nor BIAL) consultant to analyze the constraints and solutions. Keeping HAL right now is at best the knee jerk reaction, please dont mislead us that there are absolutely no other options.

About "BIAL is a private monopoly". Definitely a fair point. But what solution is being proposed here? A private duopoly (if some other private party runs HAL), or a monopoly again with two locations (BIAL itself running HAL - as some have suggested), or a govt run airport vs a private entity (unfair match)? The focus has to be a regulator. Whether there will be two airports or one, they will both not behave the best without a regulator. Besides, there are many other cities in our country with single airport, they too need this regulator to keep AAI service quality under check.

Now just today, TOI is twisting and misquoting infosys/wipro execs to indicate that not keeping HAL open will lead to a slowdown in IT investment. God! If Bangalore's infrastructure is indeed the driver for slowing IT growth, I bet there are 4-5 reasons much higher in priority than this airport thing.

If you are so bothered about connectivity and time, please, move closer to the airport, because that indeed was the idea when they all picked the location back in (I think) 1998-99.

Look at Murugeshpalya - how the place is choked. Look at those commuters to Whitefield, how they get choked on airport road mingling with heavy Airport traffic.

If mob-ocracy is your idea of proving popular support (crowd of 1000 at HAL), then let us add this (HAL protest) to the list of things corporate world and politicians have in common.

In the middle of all this, we are defocussing from what we should really do - pressure BIAL really really hard on their quality of service and operations. And who knows, may be, after watching things for a few months, we may re-open the HAL option. HAL wont go anywhere, its always here to be used as a 'stick' against BIAL

I was going to say that corporate world should use their good offices (and brains) to help solve Bangalore's connectivity problems (the root of BIAL-HAL issue - whether people openbly admit or not). But watching them over last 3-4 years, I see the Hosur Elevated Road, and the umpteen private cabs ferrying their employees and realize that they are not the best to bank on for solving Bangalore's connectivity issues. their strength is in creating private assets and profits, not public assets or infrastructure.

Mr Ravichandar does hit the right note though in saying "HAL should have its closure as the self goal" and a second airport at Hosur could be a long term solution. Wonderful, let us talk to TN govt for building a bigger regional airport around a small airstrip that (I think) Taneja Aviation owns/operates in Hosur. That will get us a solution for South Bangalore faster, and TN govt will be more than happy to lap it up! And, that, you never know, will spur Karnataka govt to be more responsive and proactive. That, my friends, would be a competition in public interest :)

vmenon's picture

re open letter to RKM

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Kbsyed and then slikboard,

 

I personally cannot do better on your letter open letter  to RKM ala Times of india. \

and silkboards rejoinder adds the right angles.

As i see it some of us, who are not for Keeping Hal open are also not for giving BIAL a totally free rein.

I think all we  are saying is that keeping HAL open is just not the solution.

 

I would like the two of you( Syed and silkborad) to considetr the following  ...and also all the rest out there.

a)Could you reword/rework your letter to mishra  suitably to send to praful ..who ultimatley is the owner of all issues on airports etc.

It would really help to show that the "public" is not a single shade of black ..and has many greys.

b) Could this same letter(or the initial one to RKM get sent to others in citicconnect..

Kiran majumdar/ ramesh ramanathan/lakshminarayan of MICO/ravichanader. 

So many of the above are personal friends , right now on oppasitre sides on this BIAL issue!!  It is so important in the larger scheme of things for bangalore that groups are not formed on a perpetual basis on pro HAL vs anti HAL .

c)I have not seen yet a response from RKM on your letter .would like to see it if it comes.

And maybe, as  a start the negotiation point for the "close Hal " airport

 group is that if the "Keep HAL open" issue is closed then you will probvabaly have a real public opinion, numbers and moral strength to be a joint force to make sure...

a)BIAL Delievers on all counts

b)GOK delivers on all counts..

 

 

again from a little birdie....if this "keep HAL open" and "anti BIAL lobby" carries on , then all BIAL will do( as a consortium especially of the private funders),will  be something like this.

--Please take the airport and running of it and everything else back ..pay us our dues and then what you decide on hal or ten other airports is upto to you!!This will be the ultimate when BIAL is backed to a corner.

--The only issue will be the buyout amount , which believe me, conrtactually will not be small.

 

so my appeal..

 

a)Letter to praful and others in citiconnect on the above ( syed note).

b)Somehow  try to get the two groups ( anti hal and pro hal ) to be on same side now and forever.

c)On the current issue..

-DROP HAL OPEN DEMAND

_TOGETHER WORK FOR BIAL EFFICENICES AND CONECTIVITY ISSUES

 

enuf said.  

 

kbsyed61's picture

Not against HAL !

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Vmenon,

 I will look into your suggestions. Just wanted to clarify my position on HAL and BIAL.

 1. I am not against HAL being remain open. Either way I don't see any harm.

 2.  BIAL should be allowed to develop to its fullest potential. BIAL should be compelled to deliver the rest of the parcel as promised ASAP.

 RK and others can continue their fight for HAL. I have no issues. My best wishes to all of them.

But there should be larger fight or efforts for pushing BIAL to deliver the rest of airport infrastructure.

 Hope that clarifies.

 Syed. 

silkboard's picture

Seeing both sides well

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Mr Nag, Please don't make personal attacks against those who want HAL to be kept open. Their is some validity in their demand. Also, it can be argued that a good number of service quality issues at HAL airport today are due to the crowding (over-capacity). So, with lesser crowds, and also, with AAI NOT running the airport (if this can be made possible), service quality can be improved.

It may also be very much possible to enhance HAL airport itself to serve 10-15 million passengers, though you may end up destroying Bellandur lake and nearby neighborhood's residential lives in doing that.

The point is more about going back on one pledge (related to distant BIAL) to de-congest the central area of the city. Lack of public transport can't be the reason to demand every facility in the center of the city. Government machinery has anyway been shying away from solving public transport situation. Now, the industry captains, rather than addressing this root cause, are also reacting to the symptoms of lack of pubic transport.

Keeping HAL open may start with some arbitrary formula that will save some people the long travel times to BIAL. HAL is a clear unfair advantage in that sense. This unfair advantage (which btw, cripples connectivity to easter part of the city via Airport road) will make the demands for more flights to be allotted to HAL. With time, we will all lose focus on BIAL (forcing them to serve us well, and making BBMP/BMTC/BMRDA work hard on public transport).

So to me, it is like what does Bangalore want - more short term band aid, or 1-2 years of pain but tremendous public pressure that will solve our root problem today - congestion in central areas, and internal connectivity.

Before making any assurances around the option of keeping HAL open, please look back at how things have worked in our city over last decade, and then caste your vote - better Bangalore tomorrow, or mirage like band aid now!?

No pain no gain, no guts no glory. Its as simple as that, especially when it comes to infrastructure.

Mr Menon, I am writing to all folks who have NOT been sidetracked by the HAL-open demand, and are thinking long term (Syed, yourself, me and some more who have not written here, but I know). Let us frame our arguments as a letter to some relevant folks who may need to hear the other side of the story. Whether we like it or not, TOI is read by a lot of folks in Bangalore, though they may realize now that they have to tone down and balance their rhetoric a bit.

Last point, guys, please. No personal attacks. As Mr Menon said, This (relatively non-trivial thing, for majority of Bangalore) finds friends on either side of fences, dont help them burn bridges over it.

s_yajaman's picture

Rejoinder to Syed

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My basic issue has been one of principle.  None of this was a secret.  This could have been raked up 2.5 years back.  Why do it now? 

If you (R.K.Misra) had organized a protest against the government's inaction on getting roads and train connectivity, I would have joined.

If you had protested also against how AAI treats passengers at HAL (there are mosquitos in the buses, dogs in the car park, etc), I would have joined.

In future if you protest about how hard life is for senior citizens and children in Bangalore (to cross a road, to walk without fear, to find a place to play or to sit), I will join you even if it means taking a week off from work.

Regards,

Srivathsa

 

Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

kbsyed61's picture

SB and Vmenon,

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SB and Vmenon,

Here is the draft of the letter to City-Connect members. Pls feel free to edit it. Pls do suggest the strategy to deliver the same. My suggestion is if possible hand deliver it. That way, it could be an oppurtunity to convey the issues personally

Syed .

 


From - Praja Community Members

 

Respected City-Connect members and Patrons, Greetings,


It gives us a great pleasure to write to you. The recent news of your leadership in leading the efforts for “Keep HAL Open” is indeed a laudable effort. On behalf of Praja Community (bangalore.praja.in) we commend this step of yours. Please accept our best wishes.

We are truly thrilled and happy to find that Industry leaders like you are taking the initiative on such public important issues like airport and its growth.But we would like to bring to your attention about the need and necessity of this hour to put up a larger fight and effort.

  1. The HAL airport at the current conditions, at best can only be a supplement to BIAL in a short term. Can not be termed as a competitor and a long term solution.
  2. None of the grievances listed in City-Connect’s PIL as well as R K Mishra’s protest call letter would get address by keeping the HAL airport open. In fact we might get slapped with a half done BIAL airport, if we don’t take action.
  3. BIAL is an under-capacity airport – This will remain under capacity until MoCA and others wakes up one day.
  4. Access to BIAL is far from being satisfactory – This genuine complaint of ours will haunt us if we knowingly ignore Bangalore city’s day- to – day transport needs and we do nothing about it.
  5. BIAL is a private Monopoly and we are at the mercy of private operator – By not waking up to the reality of BIAL’s much needed public support, we will infact be helping BIAL to be a monopoly.
  6. Our dear friend Mr. Devesh tells us that BIAL urgently needs to complete the required nuances of an airport. Here is what he writes:
…….If you see carefully, there a major aspects of the airport that are incomplete. Some are very important details. For instance, due to the open area and nearby lakes, Devanahalli suffers from fog. BIAL actually needs Cat II ILS and their equipment is Cat II ready. But their glide-slope is at 3.5 degrees which is why they are starting the airport with only Cat I status, just like HAL today. They are going to try and fix it before the winter season comes. Otherwise .........

Whether we fight for keeping the HAL airport open or not, one basic need of the city of BANGALORE would not get change.


The need is “A decent airport facility for passenger travel and cargo shipments.”

Therefore it is in the interest of each one of us to take those needed steps to ensure that Bangalore gets much needed airport infrastructure ASAP. In this endeavor and public interest efforts, your help and leadership initiative would give the needed strength and support.


On behalf of Praja community we request and solicit your kind help and co-operation for putting up a larger fight for BIAL. Fight for getting the BIAL to complete its unfinished works and expansion plans expeditiously. We would say within next 18 to 24 months.

How how this does gets realized with BIAL in focus? If we take BIAL, HAL, Bidadi options into consideration, it is clear that at this moment BIAL has the highest advantages in terms of acquired land, supporting infrastructure like ATC, operational capability (better than HAL) etc. So BIAL has all the required elements to realize this goal. In the interim BIAL has produced something and everybody is taking a potshot against it. Both for and against it. I am sure it meets some part of our objectives. Then question is how do we go forward for realizing the remaining portions?

 

  1. Get GOK, BMMP, NHAI and IR to improve the Connectivity – This definitely requires help from our industry and business friends. Focus should be on decongesting the traffic in the city that feeds the airport roads. This should be the top priority. This helps everybody – Industry, Business, common people.
  2. Get BIAL to expedite all the remaining infrastructure works for Cargo, Security personnel, amenities for Employees and staff member ASAP.
  3. Get BIAL to expedite the 2nd Phase. More importantly the 2nd Runway. Our friends like Mr. Devesh Agarwal tell us that there are some hurdles put up by the Airforce. That needs to be resolved ASAP. Otherwise we loose both the time and BIAL investment.
  4. Get BIAL to expand the terminal with all the needed amenities and requirements to support the growth that is being flashed in every blog, newspaper and discussion forums.
  5. This may not be easy one, but we might have to use all our resources to make BIAL deliver the promised airport in one full piece. No less, No more. This might require even arm twisting of all the stake holders including MoCA, AAI, L&T and GOK (KSIIDC).
  6. In final analysis if gets to a fact that we need an additional airport, then work should start for building that infrastructure sans BIAL’s shortcomings.

These are some of the important elements that require a united effort and fight that realizes the bigger good. We have a golden chance to make BIAL - a functional airport in all aspects, Cargo Hub and more importantly serving Bangalore’s needs with good and reasonable passenger amenities. Let’s not let it get slipped due to HAL closure fight.

If we sideline fight for BIAL due to HAL issue, we might as well forget about a decent airport in Bangalore. We would keep fighting on smaller short term cures and the bigger issue of BIAL will get out of our reach. This is the time to get BIAL management to be people friendly and transparent to public at large. If we do not put up a fight we will make BIAL a truly monopoly. So let’s not allow BIAL to be monopoly which doesn’t care for its customers and public at large.

You can have that fight of HAL airport going while you work along with a much larger common souls like us on this much needed and beneficial project completion.

Praja members would look forward to your positive response and helping hand for BIAL.
Sincerely,
Praja Community.

kbsyed61's picture

Problems in posting the entire letter !

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I am having problems in posting the letter in its enterity. Is there a way I can include it as an attachment?
tsubba's picture

complete letter

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syed, what exactly is the problem? can you send me a copy of the entire letter? tarlesubba gmail
kbsyed61's picture

For our Friend R K Misra !

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Mishraji,

This urdu couplet by Poet Iqbal is specially for your initiatives.

"Nahin tera Nasheiman Qisre Sultani ke Gunbad Par,

Tu Shaheen hai Basera kar Pahardon Ki chattanoen Mein"

( You are not like Pigeon to live on Domes and minarets, You are a White Falcon who lives on top of the mountains")

 

Regards,

Syed

 

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