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Proposed BMLTA Act feedback is due Feb 10th

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BusPublic Transport

BMLTA is slated to become the sole responsible authority for land based transport in Bengaluru via the proposed BMLTA Act.

For more read Deccan Herald news item http://www.deccanherald.com/content/51135/bmlta-soon-monitor-all-urban.html

BMLTA is requesting public feedback on the proposed Act. The due date is Feb 10th. The draft copy is attached with this Post (see below). The original can be found at here BMLTA website.

Feedback on the proposed act can be submitted by an e-mail to dultbangalore@gmail.com. Or write to Director, Directorate of Urban Land Transport, Room No 504, 5th Floor, 4th Gate, M S Building, Bangalore – 560001 by Feb 10

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DRAFT_BMLTA_ACT_Feb_2010.pdf54.49 KB

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kbsyed61's picture

My review comments!

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My 2 cents.


  1. This act should empower and should confer authority in BMLTA to be the sole transport policy making authority for Bangalore Metropolitan Region with functions of urban transport planning, regulation and implementation.
  2. This act should identify citizens as the important stakeholder of the BMLTA.
  3. This act should make the public consultation to be  mandatory for all the policy making, planning, regulation and implementation processes from BMLTA
  4. The Sec 5.4, Preparation of a Master Plan for the land based transport infrastructure for the BMR taking in to consideration the plans already prepared by stakeholders like BMTC, BBMP, BDA, BMRCL and any other government agency for any part or whole of the BMR; ...should be promoted to Sec 5.1. This should be the primary function of the BMLTA.

 

silkboard's picture

My review and feedback, section 1 to 9

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[Let us collect all our feedback via comments here, can then send a link to this post to DULT]

Here is my first batch, review comments for Sections 1 - 9.

Section 3

  • Section 3.3 - why no representation from Railways? Is South Western Railway not assumed to be a part of City's transportation landscape in future?
  • Would it be possible to add a slot for special guest for short tenures of 1 year. These guests could cover things we have not seen and planned for yet. To start it off, can invite someone from Land Transport Deptt of foreign cities (Say Singapore), or eminent people from other cities of India. (Say Mr Sreedharan).
  • Will sound odd to say this, but would be good to add a "Program Management Expert" to the panel. Running programs involving 5 powerful civic agencies would be no mean joke. IF a Babu does it, he/she would bring his/her own bias and style. An experienced program manager from outside will be required at the highest level to meet the goal mentioned in Section 5.1.

Section 4 (Goals)

  • Section 4, Objectives in general. Why be scared of putting number targets in objectives? 55% use of PT by 2012, 65% bu 2014, 75% by 2016? These could depend on Metro completion etc, but take number targets please, or we wouldn't know
  • On same lines, start with a survey that lists some current parameters like Road use % for Private Transport vs PT vs and Non-Motorized transport, and % use of PT for commute. Could pick 4-5 numbers like these as baselines, so that we have a way of evaluating BMLTA's performance year over year.
  • Nice to see 4.14 - encourage participation of private sector, great to mention this.

Section 5 (Functions)

  • Section 5.4 - "any other government agency" is a loose phrase. Why not mention at least the ones we know - BESCOM, BWSSB, and KSPCB - by name?
  • Section 5.9 as well as 5.1 to some extent - I think BMLTA must start with a precise list of things it will regulate or coordinate. Or else, we could be spending time in public hearings or courts to decide what is and what is not on BMLTA's scope.
  • Section 5.17 - why expert committee from "time to time"? This makes the whole job of BMLTA look very transactional or tactical. 1 expert committee per project approach is going to delay things. Replace this instead with "BMLTA will define guidelines for resolving conflicts across BMTC, BMRC, BBMP, BDA, BMRDA, and other agencies like BESCOM, BWSSB". There could be multiple guidelines, and would consist of operation guidelines and not gyaan (as gyaan will come via the BMR Masterplan). This comment covers 5.18 as well.
  • Section 5.19. Great to mention this (private participation" as a goal. But why limit to "operation of rolling stock". Either more items, like "upkeep of commuter amenities", "information and ticketing systems", or better, don't mention the specifics, but set a goal for outsourcing in a way like - "minimum 40% of operations should be outsourced pending formation of clear regulatory guidelines".
  •  

Section 6 (powers)

  • Very hard for me to comment on these as I don't know the extent of similar powers that rest with the parties to BMLTA, esp BBMP (and BDA, BMRDA in some cases)
  • For example, if 6.11 (acquire land) and 6.13 (dole out contracts) are agreed upon, is it only for projects executed by BMLTA, or for any project in transportation area in the city?
  • This section 6 kind of dilutes the theme for me - is BMLTA planning and coordinating body (which will issue interoperability standards for all, and audit them on it), or an execution/implementation body as well for special projects?
  • Who will enforce compliance to what is mentioned in section 5.22 (standards). A key power BMLTA needs is enforcing compliance to standards (5.222), regulatory guidelines (5.20), safety guidelines (5.21) etc. It is be these enforcements that BMLTA will be able to do its core job (which is mentioned in 4.2 and 5.1).

Section 7

  • Without a clearer section 6 based on Theme of coordination and compliance, this doesn't need tighter review right now.

Section 8 & 9 (land acquisition)

  • I thought BMLTA does the thinking (the right way to acquire, time-frame, coordination guidelines). But this, and relevant line in section 6 tells us that BMLTA will be executing projects as well. And then, the line is not clear for things like - will BMTC build things like TTMCs, or BMLTA? It would be nicer if BMTC builds, but BMLTA says where, and issues design guidelines. At least I am not clear

Will continue with other sections (10 to 24) a bit later. Don't understand some of the details there.

Naveen's picture

BMLTA - At least a start

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SB,

I haven't read the full act in detail yet, but at least it's a start - the act will need streamlining & modifications of course. Let's hope this does not end up with creation of another power entity that gets embroiled in controversies about jurisdictions & authority.

This is coming about a year or two late since major decisions need to be taken urgently wrt selection of mass transit modes along various corridors (this is being done currently by DULT, I think).

idontspam's picture

Section 5.19

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Section 5.19. Great to mention this (private particpation" as a goal. But why limit to "operation of rolling stock". Either more items, like "upkeep of commuter amenities", "information and ticketing systems", 

Reading it again, I think it could be phrased something like this

5.19 - To provide license to individual service providers including in the private sector in performing various functions with the end objective of safe and effective operation of the rolling stock;

But yes, Other than retaining assets everything else should be a candidate for private participation. The concession model may vary.

sanjayv's picture

Oh No! This is a terrible idea

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 After reading through the draft act fairly quickly, I think the whole of BMLTA as defined by this act is a terrible idea.  This will be yet another parastatal agency which will be answerable to no one with all kinds of vaguely defined authority and expertise. They will get into turf wars with all the other agencies and we cannot do anything about it.

Then there is the movement of goods which is completely absent from this whole plan.  Goods is a large chunk of land transport.

I say scrap this bill and come up with a more comprehensive plan.

 

Naveen's picture

BMLTA Act - My thoughts

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SB,

Sec.4 - Objectives: I agree with your observations re. goals. Some numbers are necessary to be quoted, at least as reference & to provide more legitimacy for the need for a stable umbrella /co-ordinating agency, & for compliance with recommendations under NUTP-2006.

Sec.3 - Unfortunately, Indian railways, given their history have repeatedly been left exempt from all city /state transport issues, even after they have been operating city rail transits in places like Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, etc. I think SWR should also be made a party related to Bangalore city transport matters, or at least for sub-urban transport issues, since they already are operating such services.

Section 6 tells us that BMLTA will be executing projects as well

I don't think the intention is this at all. Land for various civic needs were being acquired by KIADB (in the absence of a suitable institution), but I think this function will now be transferred to BMLTA & this is clear from Sec.6.11 :

"To acquire land for the sole purpose of development of projects/schemes and initiatives identified and approved in the Master Plan by the Government"

Will BMTC build things like TTMCs, or BMLTA? It would be nicer if BMTC builds, but BMLTA says where, and issues design guidelines

I think the intention is for BMLTA to approve BMTC's plans (& any other govt dept's plans), before going ahead with projects, as is clear from 6.1 :

"Issue directions to the internal stakeholders like BMRDA, BDA, BBMP, BMTC, BMRCL and any other government controlled agency engaged in or with the transport sector on matters relating to the land based transport system development, construction, operation and maintenance".

 

Sanjay,

The creation of unified land transport authorities for city transport (similar to those already existing in many other countries) had been recommended by WB & is mentioned in NUTP-2006, as a result. Thus, for seeking assistance for various infra projects & development of city transport, it will become more & more of a pre-requisite.

There will be many items that need tweaking, but eventually, it will work better for the common good. We have seen how various parastatals work without any sort of co-ordination & have been wasting money, not to mention the mess they have created in the process. An example are the TTMCs, which in most cases are far removed from train stations.

How do we resolve issues of this nature in the absence of an authority which oversees such conflicts & steps in with recommendations ?

sanjayv's picture

Unified Land Transport Authority

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 Dear Naveen,

  I agree with your statement that  the current system is all scattered and that a lot of coordination preferable under one agency is important.  However, do look at how this agency is positioned within the current alphabet soup of agencies.  It is a parallel agency with the responsibility of influencing planning and influencing all these other agencies to confirm to certain standards and rules they prescribe.  If the BMLTA issues direction, what is the probability that that rule will be followed.  How is the BMLTA responsible to the citizens of Bangalore. If a BMLTA directive is in contravention to something that an elected Bangalore city council decided, who prevails?

Secondly, what are the capacities required in a BMLTA? Will it be built up within the agency or will it be a consultant driven process?  What sort of budgets are we talking about.  Is it over and above what is spent today or will the money get re-apportioned?

Thirdly, are we talking of a Bangalore Transit Authority or Bangalore Land Transport Authority.  Transport of goods is integral to a Land Transport.  That piece is completely missing here.

I am sorry, but my personal opinion is that first, there needs to be a very clear definition of the scope of this agency. The powers should be very crisply defined.  It could be a standard setting agency/ regulator.  Should it be an executing agency.  Should BMTC and BMRCL folder into this?  We want a single point of responsibility instead of this diffuse, cross agency stuff.  Then we will be hearing ... We told BMTC, they did not follow orders.

 

 

kbsyed61's picture

@sanjayv, that is what we need to ..

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Dr Sanjay,
You raised a very valid point and we do have an opportunity to get this point of view across to BMLTA.

That is the reason, public consultation and feedback is so important specially when laws are enacted.

As I had noted in my review comments, BMLTA should be the sole authority which has power to implement the plan, policy, implementation and accountable for all city's PT needs. That includes passengers and goods transportation across the city.

Let us do more study of this draft and come up with the more review comments. By Feb 10th, I will collate all the comments and email it to BMLTA.

Would appreciate if a group from Praja attends the Feb 20th Public meeting make some connections in BMLTA.

Naveen's picture

Sanajay - About BMLTA Act

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Sanjay,

Your concerns about BMLTA are what most of us already have, but at least, it's a start. There is no doubt left in anyone's mind that any new institution, such as the BMLTA will obviously need to be worked upon to get it to function appropriately as & when we see how things develop. But, it's defnitely true that an umbrella agency has been a crying need in our cities as each agency had been doing things on it's own without any co-ordination with others, making life difficult for citizens.

As regards authority, I think the elected city council, if ever we have one:), will also fall in line eventually & see the benefits of having such an authority for co-ordination & making recommendations. In this respect, I don't think the BMLTA will eventually function as a parallel agency. If the agency fulfills it's objectives, I see no reason why it should be the subject for controversy. Of course, you are right that there will be teething problems & other agencies might see the BMLTA as an infringement upon their turfs, but this is what we need to avoid situations such as TTMCs getting built where "BMTC has land", or Car parks getting built "where BBMP has property" & such similar issues, without focus on citizens' needs.

Being a public agency, it will fall under govt directives such as RTI, & will be just as accountable as the other city agencies. I agree with you that BMLTA will need to build capacities & expertise - this may take time as our govt systems are still stuck with "administrative" badges attached to govt agencies instead of pushing ahead for realistic professional overviews.

You mentioned goods transport earlier too - whilst the draft for the act does not mention movement of cargo specifically, it does mention "to guide urban sprawl" (4.17); & "To act as a coordinator and facilitator to ensure integration of land use planning and transport sector planning" (5.1); also "Preparation of a Master Plan for the land based transport infrastructure for the BMR..." (5.4).

My understanding of this is that goods will also be included under it's purview. For example, if warehoues or truck transit sheds are planned on the outskirts, obviously, transport to & from these facilities become important & would need addressing by BMLTA.

By defnition, it does appear that it will be a standard setting agency /regulator, as described by you, & I'm quite certain that we will hear things like "we told BMTC, they did not follow orders", but all this is part of getting things eventually smoothened.

BTW, are you interseted in attending the public meeting on 20th (Saturday) ? We could get more insights.

sanjayv's picture

To continue - my thoughts on BMLTA

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 Thanks for the concurrence Syed.  Can I request you to just call me Sanjay and leave the Dr part out.  The Dr. business applies professionally.  Here I am just Sanjay.

Naveen, your comments make sense, but have to respectfully disagree on something.  I think it is vitally important to try and get the basic legislation to be as good as possible and in a fashion that it has a chance of working.  Even our best efforts will have shortcoming and has to be fixed / tweaked later on, which is that part you describe. When a law is written giving me an impression of one more piece of duct tape on top of all the duct tapes that exist, why should I do a line by line review (although I did go back and read line by line yesterday before responding to your comment).

Our problem is that a lot of our legislation is written by bureaucrats.  These guys tend to think within the system and about how to be politically correct and wiggle it through the hoops.  When something is clearly not working well, I personally expect a well thought out piece of legislation which looks at the big picture and politicians who know when to listen to the bureaucracy and when to admonish them and force them to adapt to the changed structure.

For the public hearing, I am unfortunately committed to a long due doctor's appointment on that day. Health and family comes before BMLTA ;-).  Sincerely hope that Praja will be well and vocally represented.

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