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Should'nt city editors have critical eye ?

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Urban DevelopmentGovernance

Here is what the editor of a city news paper says about metro and mono etc -

Another piece of good news. Apart from Metro rail, work on which has picked up speed, Bangalore will soon have a mono rail, acting as feeder service to the Metro, and a high speed rail to link the city to international airport. A global city like Bangalore needs such rapid transport systems. Its narrow roads can’t handle the increasing vehicular traffic. The number of twowheelers and autorickshaws will come down drastically once the Metro rail starts functioning. Many may stop using personal cars. You can reach your destination in no time, that too in the cozy comforts of air-conditioned coaches. No dust, no noise, no sweat. Mono rail will help you reach Metro stations in similar comfort. And you can say goodbye to parking problems.

I have pasted the link to the article in the epaper at the end of the mail. Read the times of india bangalore city edition - may 2, pg 5.

these decisions by the state government - for mono, hsrl etc have been taken without any debate anywhere. the local government- BBMP, the citys MLAs, the BMLTA which was to decide on all these - none have been consulted. and the public, of course we were not consulted. did we ask for moino, hsrl etc?

and the media just goes out praising these.

do newspapers not really need to look at all these with a critical eye. if editors just go out and piant a rosy picture without pointing to the governance pitfalls, over the logic of having so much transport but not improving footptahs and buses, of not discouraging private transport, are the editors not letting the city down?

link to epaper - http://epaper.timesofindi...
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Naveen's picture

Public /Users have been consulted

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An extract from CTTP-2007 is quoted below :

3.10.3 Opinion survey for Bus and Rail passengers was conducted at 7 bus and rail terminals to study the existing travel characteristics and also to find out the intention of the passengers in modal shift. In spite of a fairly good route network, the bus service cannot provide direct home to work service for many commuters. In many users perception as ascertained from the opinion survey the services the expectation of the commuters is summed up below :

i) Over 70 % of commuters feel that (a) buses are delayed resulting long
waiting times; (b) the frequency is not adequate; (c) distance to bus stops
should be less
ii) For 52 %, access distance at origin should be less than 250 m and 32 % will accept half mile access distance at origin and the corresponding percentages at destination end are 45 % and 37 % respectively.
iii) 69 % feel the numbers of routes are not adequate.
iv) 98 % of respondents are in favour of MRTS in city.
v) 81 % would like feeder bus service to MRTS stations.
vi) 89 % would like to have parking facilities at MRTS stations.
vii) 43 % want MRTS fares to be same as in us for comparative distance and 32% are prepared to pay only 25 % extra over bus fare for same distance.
viii) 90 % of respondents prefer single ticketing system between bus and MRTS

An earlier opinion survey by RITES with regard to transport demand study for Metro in 2003 had also indicated similar results with over 99% respondents endorsing the Metro. Thus, there is ample evidence that public, particularly users of public transport - the most important group, had been consulted.

I agree with what the TOI reporter states - Bangalore's traffic woes cannot go on & on. Immediate steps need to be taken to halt growth in vehicle population, & this is only possible after a good, reliable PT system is in place & has been made operational.

Not much can be done without installing a safe & efficient PT system. Pollution, accidents, poor pedestrian facilities, noise, fuel wastage, time wastage & poor performance in terms of economic competitiveness have been dogging the city for too long now & need urgent attention.

Public Agenda's picture

is RITES a vested interest?

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@ Naveen

Can you take everything at face value with Trust?

There is a huge trust defcit

RITES is a vested interest. That is why RITES got the contract to prepare the CTTP, which they have done for other cities as well. Now RITES is in a posh office with Jap cos is the GCC for the Metro with an opaque role (maybe no one has filed an RTI there as yet?)

The circular rail report which was ready in 2002 itself  was put in cold storage to presnt the BMRC as a TINA ! Is there a break down of how many people were surveyed and by whom?

while better buses for the majority are still a dream a few can get a cool ride as long as BMTC makes a profit

so while less funds are required for comfortable buses many other projects will come because all the ruling class wants to do is to convert Bangalore into a rich persons city.


vinay_sreenivasa's picture

main issue bypassed; user survey is not public consultation

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Dear Naveen,

You and Balram may have many reasons to support mono, hsrl etc and i may have reason to oppose it. but that's not what is being discussed here, im sure there are several other threads for those.

the main issue is that governance processes are being bypassed and the media does not look at it with a critical eye. how can these projects  be passed without debates in BBMP, state assembly or public debate? why is the BMLTA not been given powers to dsicuss/debate these? why isnt in MPC set-up as yet? and the question is when all these processes are bypassed and major decisions taken, why isnt the media questioning it?

and also, you quote a user survey by RITES etc to say that we have ben consulted. this is not public consultation no Naveen?

shouldnt a public consultation involve - sharing the plans, its benefits, costs, impacts, alternatives etc? just asking ppl "nimge metro beka?" , "nimge bus facilities bagge satisfaction ideeya" etc is not public consultation im afraid.

would you agree?

 

 

 

 


Naveen's picture

Mass transport - The need is too great

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Vinay - OK, I concede that strictly laid down democratic processes are not being followed across the country on most issues. The principal reasons I can think of as to why this is so are :

1) Multitude & diversity of needs - needs of the urban poor vary considerably from those of the urban middle classes - thus, developments that favor middle classes, such as metro /mono /airport, is routinely seen as favoring only the rich, despite the existence of the many programs for the poor & the deprived.

2) The urban middle classes, though well to do, do not vote, & try to circumvent laid down laws & procedures for personal gain, but question, criticize & pose obstacles to infrastructure development, particularly since there are short-term inconveniences, such as disruption during construction of flyovers or the Metro, for example.

3) Our public including many politicians & bureaucrats (barring a few educated sections) are not tuned at all to long-term needs of the country & are not committed to environmental concerns - short term opportunities dominate the agenda in both, politics & development, whilst the baggage of the nearly 50% BPL families complicates matters further.

4) The delivery mechanisms of municipality & the govt is highly inefficient & corrupt, & this disillusions the middle classes - this is one of the main reasons why they stay away from voting or participating in anything other than what gets them immediate benefits.

5) Last, & certainly one of the most important aspects - if principles of strict participatory democray are practiced, it has, time & again led to unduly long delays, accusations, needlessly long debates & court battles that go nowhere & ultimately, decisions take extremely long, if ever they fructify. An example is the Sardar sarovar project (Gujarat /Maharashtra /Rajasthan) & nearer home, the NICE corridor development.

 

The englsih media generally favors the urban middle classes - examples are opposition to BRT in Delhi (since car lobbies do not favor them there) & support for Metro /Mono /HSRL in bangalore, since driving personal vehicles has become painful for the middle classes here.

In such a concoction of diversity & demands, decisions that are being taken by politicians tend to try to speedily solve the problem to gain political mileage, & some of these solutions may not have followed strict democratic processes.

 

Why I support this decision by the govt to go ahead speedily with mass transport systems in bangalore is because the city needs it real bad & also because such an issue can become highly complicated since it's more of a technical subject with very huge costs - thus, all areas cannot be serviced & it will invite a highly mixed bag of nay-sayers side by side with demands for Metro (or Mono) nearer their own locales (though not directly on their own roads!) - a perfect case for long litigation, PILs & court battles even as the city continues to suffer & bleed with excessive strain on roads, not to mention the pollution, noise & other difficulties.

Naveen's picture

RITES - Most suited for surveys

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Public Agenda,

Whether RITES is a vested interest or not is debatable, but it, being an arm of the Indian Railways is most suited to carry out studies such as the CTTP since they are probably the only entity that has had long experience in carrying out similar surveys.

If another entity were chosen, the chances for their study being accepted are even lesser - there will always be groups or persons contesting any study reports, no mattter what. Even the CTTP report by RITES is not being accepted in full. For example, the study has quoted several BRT routes for the city, but there has been no move by the authorities on this, except for some token efforts on ORR.

Circular rail in the country's biggest cities (Delhi, Kolkata) have failed & I don't think it will work in bangalore either.

There is a complete break-down of household surveys in the CTTP-2007 report. 26,000 households is the number quoted as the sample size.

3.6.1 Household Interview surveys
The HHI survey is a part of the CTTP for BMA. Household Interview Survey is one of the main surveys conducted as part of Comprehensive Traffic & Transportation Plan for Bangalore. The main aim of the survey is to collect the socio-economic and travel characteristics of residents in BMA. The survey is intended to collect the details about the number of residents of the household, their income range and their travel pattern. The entire BMA was divided into four categories viz., Inner Ring, Middle Ring, TMC / CMC and Villages. The sample size adopted and the number of households selected for interview is given in the Table 3.4 3.4.

nl.srinivas's picture

@naveen

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I totally agree with you. But what stops the govt or the authorities from being more prudent in accepting or rejecting a proposal.  All they seem to be interested is creating an impression that they are doing something without bothering whether it has any long term benefits. Take for example road widening projects. Whoever took the decision has bothered to check whether the travel time has reduced after road widening? I will not even ask whether they did such a study before taking up the project because I know they haven't done that.

Since the plans are not made public nobody can scrutinize, but the media can atleast throw light on whether a particular project has benefited the public or not, if not the media (and of course us ) should take the responsible people to task and hold them accountable.

I it still beats me why until today nobody has bothered to get BBMP, BWSSB, BTC work in sync

 

 

 


Naveen's picture

Teamwork & Co-ordination - Big weaknesses

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NL.Srinivas,

I think most answers to your questions are within what you stated.

There is no co-ordination or synchronization whatsoever between various citizen groups, leave aside govt institutions. If the middle classes voted & participated better in governance rather than standing aside & merely criticizing govt all the time, we would have seen better performance by the govt & it's many institutions.

Our media is content, moving along the middle path since they do not want to antagonize politicians more than necessary & need readers to sell their newspapers.

Barring the usual middle class rants that sound good to the literate news readers, none of the newspapers or TV channels want to take on the responsibility to question or criticize politicians by shedding light on futuristic solutions tested successfully in many other countries, let alone demanding them since these do not sell. Our middle class is just as content as the media inmaintaining status quo since they get what they need easily within the prevailing system - subsidized fuel & transport, luxuries such as cheap servants, the many opportunities to bribe or break the law for personal gain, etc, whilst claiming that we have a great system since we are democratic.

You mentioned about prudent decisions by authorities - unfortunately, these are usually hard, politically since they are unpopular. I think the decision to go all out for mass transits would have been hard, but for the severe street congestion in bangalore & the resulting difficulties for all classes for city travel.

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