A PIL for Namma Railu aka Commuter Rail Service (CRS)

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Commuter Rail

Friends, some of us have discussed possibilities of filing a PIL for seeking closure or accelerating work on Commuter Rail Service (CRS) for Bengaluru. At this point, we are not entirely sure how well or fast the project is moving. Going by some reports, there is good progress. But there aren't many official (as in from Railways, or GoK, or IDD) statements on status and next steps for the project.

Filing a PIL means investment of time, and also money. A PIL may antagonize some government agencies Namma Railu project team has been working with.

Also, how would we write this PIL. What "public interest" will we try to highlight? Who all will we name in this PIL? Namma Railu team has done a lot of howework as well as spade work for CRS. But will that be enough, or would we need to file a few more RTIs to get some more facts out in written (like - current status of DPR on CRS, from IDD?) and include the responses in the PIL.

I am just making a post to seek everyone's thoughts and ideas.

cheers,

SB aka Pranav

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Comments

My 2cents

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Could not resist jumping in and commeting after seeing the question posed.

I am AGAINST a PIL to force commuter rail.  Getting commuter rail going or not is a policy decision.  There is nothing inherently illegal in either having commuter rail or not having commuter rail.  Therefore, in my opinion, this is not a matter for courts to decide and rule on. If you try to frame a case, a prayer for a PIL, i think the above point will clearly get highlighted.

Railway was forced to obey the court order on Night Train to Kar

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Was their any objection from Railway in starting night train  from Bangalore to Karwar??

Railway outhorities never said no to extending the night Train to Karwar but never they did on  their own  and  after court stick thru PIL,  they extended the same within a week time even though  advance booking of tickets were allowed for Kannur 120 days.

In case of CRS too, either Railway or GOK  are not refusing  and they are willing to do it but when is the Question now???  This is where we want court intervention for GOK & Railways.

Take the other case of Delhi Industires polluting and CNG making it  mandatory in National Capital,  finally Delhi High court  has to force authorities to stick to the deadline.

Same way for CRS we would  like GOK & IR to commit  and start acting on the project instead of saying Binny Mill land issue need to be decided first??? ,  DPR, Feasibility report, Pre-feasibility report & we can add some more terminology in the project managamnet for this CRS to  help GOK & IR to delay the implementation.

Now its inevitable for GOK & IR to take forward the CRS but they are finding ways to delay this project  due to the invisible hands acting  on CRS

public statements vs action and intent

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Going by press reports and statements from agencies involved, everyone seems to want CRS. If there is nobody working behind the scenes to scuttle CRS, why is it not happening then? Possible reasons (I have my views on these, but for now, just listing them)

  1. No clarity on who and how of CRS? who should take it forward (do the DPR?), and who should operate it eventually. Basically, since there is nobody in-charge, CRS movements always fall through the cracks.
  2. Competing investments already sunk in public transportation. Fact that there is so much committed already (primarily in Metro) could be a deterrent for State government in moving forward
  3. State not convinced about the potential of CRS. Some decision maker somewhere doesn't see justification in public spending on CRS.

While we have our answers and arguments on above points (see other discussions, lets not start a new one here), but, how do we establish public interest aspect of the project in the first place?

  • A Nellamangala Resident - I live in a BMRDA/Satellite area . I struggle to come to the city. And I see you making only elevated roads on existing highways that go through my area.
  • Wanting relocate to Chickballapur!? - I want to live in BMRDA/Satellite area, as I can't afford housing inside the city area, but I can't relocate as I can't commute back for my work.
  • A resident @ Anekal - I live far away from CBD. But I am forced to spend 1 hour+ in commuting as I am forced to use slow Buses are the only option I have.

For some BMRDA areas, the answer could be that Metro is coming. For the rest, we could be told that wait, state will put up Metro everywhere, in which case, the talk will be about cost benefits.

I was thinking that a PIL with connectivity to BMRDA/Satellite areas as the driving ask may work. Plus, the fact that govt has expressed intent or willingness on the project, but then not provided any timelines or nodal agency, that angle could also work - I just want to know when it will be done.

BTW, all those announced but pending Ring roads (satellite town, peripheral, intermediate) projects don't cut it for satellite towns, Road != PT. And thankfully for CRS, there are no BRT type plans for any national highway connecting city and satellites.

CM needs courts to tell him what to do!

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"Judicial activism has been a boon for the government. Had the courts not passed strictures it would have been difficult for us to take some decisions . Many a time, the government faces political pressure and is unable to work. But directives issued by high court and Supreme Court enabled us to move forward," said Shettar, who was the chief guest at Advocate's Day celebration in HC.

more here

lets give him what he wants!

CRS may need more investment

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If there is nobody working behind the scenes to scuttle CRS, why is it not happening then?

I think it has to do with the quantum of investments necessary. RITES has quoted some 8300 crores but this does not include land acquisition for tracks doubling at some locations & new station additions. So, the costs might well be much, much higher since land is very pricey & only DPRs will bring out how much more investment is needed.

I think GoK wants to know these figures before commitments are made.

Higher Cost and DPRs!

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I think GoK wants to know these figures before commitments are made.

If GOK would like to know the exact cost ( correct to the last paisa) before any tangible view on the project and a DPR is the way to do it, then why restrict DPR for 2-3 corridors? It should cover all the corridors brought out in RITES "PRE-FEASABILITY" report , even if it is considering to start CRS on only 2-3 routes to begin with.

DPR for 2-3 corridors only doesn't give a good feeling.

the costs might well be much, much higher since land is very price

Even if the cost going to be higher, will that be higher than the cost of other PT systems in making and considerations? Would that be a factor to not consider CRS?

what is the threshold for cost acceptance, if any? Isn't that a political call in the end?

 

 

 

Effective PIL Strategy for CRS

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Friends,

  PIL for CRS would be effective only with a proper strategy.   Since the CRS is not at the project stage, I mean, it is not shovel ready, (it has to go through several stages DPR, SPV, fund allotment etc), the court order even if it is positive would only direct the government to consider CRS without giving the timelines (as they can always argue that each stage can take its own time).  

However, if we pit the Metro to airport against CRS, the judge will have clear choice to make at least to say which will come first.  Since the funds required for the airport metro is already allotted, the court may ask the government to divert the funds to CRS.  

As the PIL means public interest litigation, the court has to rule which is better in the interest of the public or which project should get first priority.  

So the jist of the PIL should be

' The GOK has two projects in front of them which are of interest to people of Bangalore and sorrounding areas.  one project (Metro to airport 33 kms )costing 5,700 cr and helps fewer than 1% of the bangloreans (mostly elite class) and second (more than 400 kms of commuter rail)  which costs 8000 cr and helps more than 25% of the bangaloreans and surrounding areas and mostly caters to middle class and lower middle class.    Let the government takeup the most critical project (i.e, Obiously CRS) and move the funds to the CRS project.     

Hyd - The MMTS service happens to the cheapest mode of transport

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Hyderabad

The MMTS service happens to the cheapest mode of transport with its users spending 20 per cent less than bus users for their commuting needs.

 

SOURCE    http://www.thehindu.com/n...

 

 

 

 

money and land

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Courts generally refrain to direct govt to spend money, especially as high as 8000 crore, it is prerogative of the lower house only. Also the land transfer from state govt to railways. But very less expensive things like procuring of 5 MEMUs, and financing pit lanes, longer platform etc courts can give directive, even immediate relief. But legal expenditure is high here, unless you go for a reputed lawyer and associates it is difficult to draw attention of the courts.

Should Praja implead in the exiting PIL by Mr. S Chopra?

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There is already a PIL filed by Mr. Satinderpal Chopra in High Court.

 

Case # 22133

Year # 2012

Type of Case # WP (Writ Petition)

There was hearing today and from HC website it looks like they have adjourned to Jan 7, 2013.Trying to get more details on the case and the prayer that is made in the PIL.

Instead of re-inventing the wheel, why not we also join in by impleading in the existing case? That way, there is more weight and support to the case.

 

 

Chopra WP

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What is the WP on Syed?

WP, Writ Petition

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WP is Type of Case, i.e. Writ Petition

Right but...

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Yes, you had expanded WP in your earlier post itself.  Question was... what is the Writ Petition asking for?  Is there some case going on in a lower court?  What is that case?

I could not find any details on the HC website.

Writ Petition

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Having got this support/or no support from executive & political sections so far, it may be better to elicit an opinion from judiciary. We may put forward our views based on necessity of a mass transport system for the mega city. Also reckless development of roads is not the solution as city has already started degenerating environmentally.

The APSRTC buses, which are

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The APSRTC buses, which are now carrying three million people a day, will be reduced drastically on the metro corridors so that people are forced to use the metro by paying higher charges.  link

The PPP concession agreement for Hyderabad metro supposedly asks for the above. I think the document is not available or secret. We can ask if the gov agreement with BMRCL which promises it will not develop alternatives to metro.

"The concession agreement says: "The government shall not construct any rail or road transport system between, inter alia, the three metro corridors" for a period of 35 years from the date the metro rail becomes operational." link TOI

 

Chopra WP !

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Details of the WP is awaited. Sanjeev is in touch with him and he is trying to get more details.

Few months back this was reported in news media - Source TOI

"...Notice to railways on suburban trains

A division bench headed by Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen ordered notice to the Railways and the state government with regard to a PIL seeking suburban rail services in Bangalore. Petitioner Satinderpal Chopra claimed that even though many cities like Mumbai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad and Hyderabad have been chosen for such a service, Bangalore has been neglected..."

 

PIL /Imp leading?crs

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"Details of the WP is awaited. Sanjeev is in touch with him and he is trying to get more details."

Yes it would be interesting to find out what angle has been taken in this existing PIL, But i would be surprised if it is a comprehensive one.essentially because this would by nature be a difficult PIL to formulate.

Some angles:

1.What we might want as an immediate outcome (prayer) could be an admission by GOK that CRS is an active programme and steps they have taken and are committed to take in this regard.

2.CRS itself is a very very old proposal in bangalore.( the current heat is primarily because of praja advocacy).But tracing the history of government inaction thro the ages, would be one foundation setting for the PIL.And therefore by RTI or court order , bring the rationale of government policy inaction to public arena.

3.In effect the PIL can sound something like this.

"Everyone says , thro the ages that CRS is a great benefit for Bangalore.Lots of effort , project reports and therefore tax payers money has been spent on this.The current rites report too states without a iota of doubt of the the benefit and cost effectiveness of CRS.It is feared by the petitioners that this report too will be consigned to the dustbin without any real accountabilty to the citizens.We further believe that in the transportation arena , GOK is only intererested in activating high cost  and high image projects , and not those which actually benefit  the citizens,We believe that these projects promote only some elite segments requirements.

We would want the DULT, which is the body to integrate all modes of transportation in bangalore to give the court their clear opinion on the role and priority of CRS vis a vis other modes""

In short a PIL  which strengthens DULT 's power and policy making importance.

enuf said, more later, bye

vmenon

 

 

 

 

I feel that the government is

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I feel that the government is not willing to transfer the Binny Mills land to the railways, because of which the project could be delayed. GOK as it is, has been offering land free of cost to the railway projects in almost all regions of the state. Transfer of prime land in Bangalore whose value in the market could be several thousands of crores, may be something the government is averse to. While it is natural on the part of the state government to think so, it is quite clear that Bangalore needs a commuter rail hub developed in the vicinity of the city station. Hence the GOK must expedite land transfer at the earliest..

Tejaswi

So on this PIL ...

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I think we need a meeting or something to talk it over - cost, effort required from our side, a good and interested lawyer who would lead and advise. Whether we have a valid case for PIL or not - I think it would be the best to hear from a lawyer than discussing it just amongst ourselves.

Year end time - I think we all woudl be busy with travel/breaks etc. Should touch up on this early Jan.

POLICY FOR PARTICIPATIVE MODELS IN RAIL-CONNECTIVITY AND CAPACIT

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Advantages to the State Governments
• Ensure timely development of rail infrastructure critical to the economic
development of the State.
• Reduces congestion on the roads.
• Investment in rail is cost effective compared to road.
• It is environment-friendly.

 

http://www.indianrailways...

 

 

 

@psraja wonderful find...

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@psraja wonderful find... document throws the ball in states court. In fact it opens it to anybody who wants to run a train. Including cooperative societies. Shall we run a train ourselves then ? :)

Excerpt

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  1. In case state governments or their agencies evince interest in developing and taking up any railway project in their respective states, they can participate under the schemes described herein. In particular, if the projects can be structured as an JV or a Non-Government Railways as defined in the Railways Act, 1989, it is proposed to permit them to take up such projects under the framework described in para 6.1or 6.2 above (subject to a limited concession period with the additional flexibility to run passenger services on these lines in compliance with all safety and statutory

    requirements). Further, they will be permitted to bid out such projects within the boundaries of the Concession Agreement. In other words, they will not create any additional encumbrances on the project assets or additional obligations on Railways. They will be, however, fully responsible to meet their commitments to Ministry of Railways regardless of the outcome of the bidding. 

 

Prayer made in the current PIL before HC!

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What ever information I can gather from our friend Satyanderpal Chopra's PIL's prayer  before Karnataka HC is as follows:

   (i) Direct the concerned authorities to start the suburban rail service on SBC-Channapatna, SBC-YPR and SBC-Whitefield segments.

  (ii)  Direct the Railway Board to immediately implement the suburban train service on the existing rail infrastructure with or without the assistance of the Government of Karnataka.

reopening this thought - a different angle

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Building the angle through this discussion/comment: http://praja.in/en/blog/silkboard/2013/08/20/pause-metro-investments-plan-satellite-town-connectivity-sooner#comment-34658

Quick summary of the possible different angle is:

  • We either see unsustainable road widening or flyover projects, or large investments (like metro extensions) without public consent process (refer Metro's upcoming extensions - not clear on corresponding masterplan that was approved by the public)
  • Is there nothing in between these two (roads or Metro) to help save every bengalurean 30 minutes everyday?
  • And what is in place to meet BMRDA region's needs? Why did you make the region BMRDA in the first place if you wanted to give it the step motherly treatment.

Could be filed jointly by aggreived citizens from BMRDA region, and a region that is not touched by Metro's currently funded plans. We are all spending 30 mins to 1 hour of "valuable extra personal time" on the roads, and have been spending this extra time for a decade now due to apathy, callousness, unplanned and unaccountable ways in which mobility is being planned for us.

If the court objects to "extra extra personal time" part of the plea, that would mean that we don't have a right to expect reasonable movement speeds. And thus, we don't need Metro as well.

Thinking aloud, raw thoughts, build on them please.