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Report - Meeting with Mr. Gaurav Gupta, IAS, Convener, BMLTA.

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Public Transport

[Praja tradition is that all attendees log their individual reports of these meetings. Here is Ananth sir's report to lead it off! {admin}]

The meeting began at 12:30 PM sharp at Room no 502 Vikas Soudha Dr. Ambedkar road. After the exchange of cards the BMLTA officers and all the praja members introduced them selves. The Commissioner then explained at great length the BMLTC as the apex Land Transport department of the Government of Karnataka, A printed pamphlet giving the Genesis of the Land Transport Authority was also distributed. The official site of BMLTA BMLTA was created to act as Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority (UMTA) for Bangalore Metropolitan Region (BMR).Functions:

  • BMLTA is supposed to draw up a master plan for Transport Infrastructure based on Comprehensive Traffic and transport plan (CTTP) for Bangalore
  • Implementation of all Transportation Projects
  • To appraise and recommend Transport Infrastructure projects for bilateral/Central assistance
  • To initiate action for regulatory framework for all land transport systems in BMR
  • To initiate steps for common ticketing system
  • Inter Modal Bus terminals
  • Parking policy and infrastructure
  • Commuter rail system
  • External Development and infrastructure
  • Code and guide lines for roads and facilities
  • Pedestrian facilities
  • Etc
The commissioner requested his officers to upload all the info to the web site, so that it is freely available for the general public. The Commissioner expressed his happiness about the interest shown by praja in this meeting, and reiterated that he considers that this meeting was just a beginning not the end. As a start up meeting all Praja Members felt happy expecting a continued fruitful dialog in participation with BMLTA in future.



narayan82's picture

tasty bites?

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any, leads as to what Bangalore can expect from BMLTA? Did he reveal what is in store?
Narayan Gopalan
User Interaction Designer
silkboard's picture

Was a long meeting, good dialogue

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So we showed up on time, 12:30 pm. All combined there were 8 of us (Ravi, srivathsa, sudheendra, blrsri, ananth sir, murali sir, rithesh and myself). We talked till about 2:15 pm, a good hour and a half!

The meeting ran longer than expected partly because we made Mr Gupta digress from topics beyond BMLTA (BBMP, tier-II cities, more), and partly because Mr Gupta had a lot to share about BMLTA. Personally, I didn't mind the digressions, Mr Gupta having a lot of experience with other public agencies in Bangalore and other parts of the state, you get to hear insights on how this massive engine called state government works.

For instance, we delved into BBMP's capacity problems. He kind of said BBMP doesn't function in the best of ways, but then they have sever staff shortage. I do support that theory that BBMP has too much on its hands,

Another thing, this we didn't know, he mentioned was that BMLTA is helping (not sure if they are doing it themselves, or helping someone RITES do it) with CTTP like plans of many tier-II cities of Karnataka. Those cities may be one tenth of Bangalore today, but they got to be ready early. Personally, I am all ears whenever I hear tier-II.

To summarize the meeting in just 1-2 lines : BMLTA faces challenges coordinating across various public agencies as coordination requires each body to "give in" a bit, but things should get better with time. Mr Gupta and gang came across as "okay, it kind of sucks right now, but lets not give up" team.

Talking of Mr Gupta's team, they looked like having impressive resumes. One from School of Planning and Architecture (SPA), Delhi , another just defended his doctoral thesis at IISc on the subject land-use and urban planning, and the third has studied town planning (forgot, Rithesh, Ravi - correct if you remember) at MIT (Boston)! Not bad, haan?

Ananth sir has already listed the specifics we heard about. Mr Gupta said we got to be patient, repeated that a few times, and perhaps that tells us that BMLTA isn't working on any quikc-win quick-result projects.

From Praja point of view, one good thing was that he saw the meeting as a beginning, only a first. Specifically, I asked him for help on three things

  • Tell us more about Commuter railway system (CRS), a project he said BMLTA is expected to coordinate on. We also asked him for contacts of key persons in South Western Railway who we can meet and find out more. We didn't hear a lot about CRS from him, didn't have time to cover it in detail, so next meeting, or via email.
  • Help us track all these projects running off from Bangalore CTTP? We know the plans, they all look good, but our issues is execution. At Praja, we are interesting in tracking all these projects. He said he will share whatever information he has. We should expect new stuff on BMLTA website.
  • How can Praja help BMLTA? Rithesh and I said we are interested in "scrutinizing" (watching) city's projects, and help people take deeper interest. He said we could make people know more, and we can help expose a lot more issues than what newspapers can or will ever do. He even threw a number - papers probably talk about 2% of issues. If you go deep and local, there is a lot lot more that the city should be made aware of.

One key message was - this one we have heard in all meetings we have done so far - don't just sit out and act like cynic or critic. Come in, and suggest, as per him, most agencies appreciate constructive feedback and help. Well, that sort of is what we want Praja's philosophy to be, isn't it. Be positive, criticism are incomplete without accompanying suggestions :)

Oh gosh. There was so much we heard and talked, there was a lot of off-the-record stuff too. But a day after the meeting, above is how I remember it. Will add more as I recall based on questions and discussion here.

And yeah, there are 6 more reports waiting to come in. Lets stay tuned. Rithesh took some pictures as well, should see them soon.

tsubba's picture


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thanks folks.
Rithesh's picture

Summary and meeting photographs

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Ananthram and Silkboard have summarized most of the things.

Mr Gaurav Gupta is an amazing person to interact with. The good thing about this meeting (as Pranav already mentioned) was that Mr Gupta talked on a whole range of issues – from BMLTA to BBMP to Land transport authorities for other cities in Karnataka. He talked about why privatization (of transportation, BBMP works, etc) was not "always" a good idea (When Murali Sir was there – this topic had to come up). He has also promised us to help us get in touch with concerned authorities, if we come up with specific plans or ideas. We also had a good chat on democracy.

A few other (apart from what is already mentioned by Pranav and Ananthram) specific things that were discussed are –

BMLTA in its present form is not a regulator of sorts, instead it is a coordinating entity between BBBMP, BTP, Metro, Railways, BDA, PWD and all other agencies related to travel and transport in Bangalore. BMLTA will help better coordination and integration of the services/works offered/carried out by these agencies. I would personally like to see BMLTA evolving as a regulator. There is a strong need for a centralized authority to which all the state holders (related to traffic and transport) should report to. The current system is very chaotic. It is like that saying – “the right hand does not know what the left hand is doing”.

CTTP will be the reference point for all future developments in Bangalore. But it won’t be a rule book; instead it will only be a guidance document. Deviations are possible, if they are backed by concrete suggestions.

An integrated state of art passenger information system will be developed - this will give realtime information regarding bus arrival timings (at bus stops), estimated time to reach a particular destination (when traveling in a bus), etc.

Plans to decongest Kempegowda Bus terminal (and the city in general) are also under way. Inter city Bus stations will be constructed on 6 roads (I remember Hosur Road, Bellary Road, Tumkur road – Penya, Mysore road). This will avoid intercity buses from entering the city.

Also studies are underway to understand the traffic flow patterns with in Bangalore, this data will be used for future planing of transport services.

BMLTA like organizations and CTTPs are being planned for six other cities in Karnataka – these cites include Mysore, Managalore, Belagaum, Hubli-Darwad. The consultancy work for a few of the cities was already allotted and work is in progress.

The other thing that he mentioned was that, unlike in other countries, city governments in India are not very power full. Property tax is their only source of income and as a result they have to reply heavily on State or Central funds. This is something which we all agree upon, I guess – there is a strong need for decentralization of powers. Like how the Central governments are skeptical of transferring powers to state governments, the state governments are skeptical of transferring powers to city governments.

BMLTA is also working with City Connect and they are working on 10-15 projects. This partnership is called "BTTI" - i dont recollect what it stands for though.

I should thank Ravi for organizing this – great going man.I should apologize that I have written this in an Ad Hoc manner – that’s because Ananthram and Pranav had already covered most of it and I just added what I though was missing.

I have hosted a few pictures of the meeting on Picasa -



Prajasevaka :)

Ravi_D's picture

Meeting Notes and Praja's role

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psram. SB, Ritesh - all of you have written comprehensively about points of discussion. Thanks to other members for making time for the meeting. 

As we all know by now, it was more or less a understand BMLTA type meeting. Mr Gaurav Gupta and his team, one could tell, was very cordial, open minded and interested in this meeting. Few quick adders - pardon any repetition. 

Mr Gaurav Gupta started off in January. The efforts have started to show results on the functioning of associated civic bodies in the last 4 to 6 months. Expect results to show up more so in future. BMLTA team members we met are young, well qualified, open minded and energetic folks. Very good sign.

BMLTA is different from other LTAs around the world.

> It is not a regulatory body

> Unlike other LTAs which started off planning for the city from the get go (or very early in city's development), BMLTA evolved due to a need that was badly felt. So they have some grounds to cover and amends to make. 

> In the present form, BMLTA will be coordinating policy implementation and will help in resolving inter civic body issues. Auditing ongoing projects might be beyond their forte. 

> Planning for the future of the city, in my mind, has to be one of the primary goals of an organization of this sort. From what I heard, such an effort has already occurred and resulting CTTP forms the baseline for Bangalore. BMLTA will coordinate its implementation. They will get something similar to CTTP done for Tier II cities.... And we got hints that they will take a hard look at Bangalore CTTP if a need is felt.

Calling Praja to provide appropriate suggestions? I think we should look at CTTP and see if something there concerns us. I understand it will be put into practice over 15 long years, and you will agree that what we plan and suggest today is not necessarily going to pass the test of time 15 years from now. Continuous review should be part of the scheme, and Praja should be able to help here.

SB's question (what would BMLTA be concentrating on at any given time) is very relevant. We were told BMLTA will (if it has not already done so) make its proceeding public. Praja can play a constructive role by taking a look at what BMLTA's next big thing, analyze CTTP, gather other relevant data and raise concerns along with appropriate suggestions (if any) with BMLTA. I'm sure Mr Gaurav Gupta and his team will appreciate such an effort.



idontspam's picture

One step forward

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Two major drawbacks that I see

1. BMLTA does not have authority to regulate (will their mandate to prepare a regulatory framework solve this?)

2. BMLTA cant audit projects ( Is this a bandwidth/capacity issue or it is not their charter?)

The biggest positive is they seem to have the right kind of people with the right kind of knowledge to do the job.

s_yajaman's picture


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Here are my key takeaways from the meeting.

a. It is good that there is finally a body that is trying to coordinate various organizations to ensure a holistic traffic and tpt plan. 

b. The number of organizations involved in traffic and transport is huge.  Each one will try and defend its turf and someone like Mr.Gupta has to work really hard at managing this bureaucracy.

c. He made an interesting point about people like us (praja members e.g.) can be the eyes and ears for BMLTA as they cannot be physically everywhere.

d. It was good to see qualified young people being recruited for this. 

I think we need to find some meaningful ways of engaging with BMLTA to take this forward.


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

murali772's picture

Prajasevaka avare' nilli

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Mr Gaurav Gupta did not say that 'competition from private sector was not a good idea'. He said that if competition was to come in, BMTC may want to operate in other cities also (I expect he meant even outside the state). I had responded with a "yes, of course". And, then he went on to say that he will revert to the subject later, but did not. Obviously, he cannot express his views on this sensitive issue (why so sensitive - I don't know) openly.

Incidentally, going by press reports, an MOU is being signed today between GoK and Go-Chattisgarh for setting up a 2000 MW thermal power plant in Chattisgarh. I am sure it's going to be executed and operated by our own KPCL. Thereafter, there's a possibility that they may add capacity and supply power to other states also. KPCL is a fairly competent company. But, it has been driven to near bankruptcy because of non-receipt of payments from its only customer KPTCL, which again is the result of skewed government policy. They would be happy to add on credit-worthy customers.

Yes, I am also impressed with the credentials of his young team members, and that holds great hope as far as I am concerned. Hope also wells from Mr Gupta's statement that there is now an overall appreciation amongst the other stake-holders of the role of BMLTA, and co-ordination is beginning to happen.

If I heard it right, he also seemed to suggest that many of the projects which have been announced, but not started, could be reviewed if a sufficiently strong case could be made out for the review. Oh, but, aren't they supposed to have public hearings before they decide on any project - overlooked checking on that.

Well, this is only the first meeting. And, with Mr Gupta's openness, and overall acceptance of PRAJA as a lot with a proactive approach, I suppose we can mutually contribute to improving the overall quality of life in the city as well as the state.

Another thing he acknowledged but chose not to comment on was "Yelli Iddira?". No idea why, though.

Muralidhar Rao

Muralidhar Rao
Rithesh's picture

Murali sayabre my apologies

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My mistake - i missed out a wordFoot in mouth. I have now corrected the statement Innocent sir.

I was referring to the cartel phenomenon - private operators collectively coordinating to raise prices and not on any specific issue  Smile.



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