Citizens' Issues
Scandals of sorts

Why is such a lot of money being spent on skywalks that are inconvenient, a Metro that cannot accommodate large numbers, a monorail and a sea link for a privileged few?

When I read a newspaper report earlier this week that there is insufficient space to accommodate escalators at the skywalks which are coming up across Mumbai, I just could not help thinking that the blokes at MMRDA (Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority) are very capable of messing around with matters of public importance without application of mind from the outset. The lucre of Rs600 crore (allocated for the skywalk projects) was too big not to be attracted to, or delay, lest they were halted in their tracks. The contract costs have since escalated to Rs735 crore.

The design of the skywalks does not support the aim of making the journey for pedestrians easier and safer. Let alone the convenience of the average pedestrian, the design also grossly violates the accessibility aspect with regard to the Disability Act 1995. The usage of skywalks that have already been commissioned is dismally poor. And all this is coming up after Rs385 crore has been spent and numerous trees have been chopped down. Is this not a scandal of sorts?

After the Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP) is completed, the carrying capacity of the railway system will increase to 1,80,000 pph (passengers per hour) from the current 1,50,000 pph. The load on the railway system is around 3,60,000 pph. Thus, there will be a shortfall of 1,80,000 pph even after the MUTP has been completed. We know that the capacity of the Metro will be about 72,000 pph after it has been fully commissioned. So, the Metro would not be able to meet the needs of Mumbai's public transport requirements. Even after knowing this, MMRDA is pursuing with the Metro Rail. Is not the lucre of the over Rs60,000 crore Metro Rail Project more attractive than the Rs3,000 crore cost of the Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS)? Is this decision also not bordering on a scandal of sorts?

The monorail project has gone ahead, again, without any analysis in terms of both the need and utility compared with other modes of public transport like BRTS and Skybus. Does this also not border a scandal of sorts?

We are also seeing that due to non-availability of funds, all kinds of manipulations are being carried out to get the projects moving. MMRDA is planning to start work on all the remaining eight lines together, with the objective of completing them by 2014! Are not the guys at MMRDA being too ambitious, perhaps even greedy, to think of doing all of it simultaneously, thereby subjecting the whole population to great distress over a long period?

Then there is the 5 lakh rental housing scheme-most unimaginatively conceived, at faraway locations, a high cost of transport and long duration of unsafe travel. Is this not another scandal of sorts?

About Rs1,600 crore was spent on the Bandra-Worli Sea link for about 35,000 users to travel swiftly, while 60,00,000 people travel on suburban trains in super-crush load during the peak periods. Now it is envisaged to extend the sea link to Nariman Point, without any consideration of the high cost and low utilisation. But spend just about Rs3,000 crore on a 200km network for BRTS instead of, or along with the high-end ticket projects, and we could save 4,000 lives that are lost in rail accidents every year. Is this also not a scandal of sorts?




7 years ago

i fully appreciate the issues. i too wondered why at every station sky walk is required. what's the guarantee that hawkers will not encroach it. it is the inability of administration to check this. soon the narrow sky walks too will have little space due to encroachment. eg: dadar bridge. it is full of hawkers in the middle of the bridge at evening peak hours. any answers?


7 years ago





Nagesh KiniFCA

7 years ago

in deed the skywalks and flyovers are in fact white elephants. flywalk have crashed and the one at lalbagh pulled down to facilitate the smooth movement of the lalbaghcha raja a matoshree decision over the head of the mayor. the tiles of the first flywalk came out within the first one month. The first escalator installed at Charni Road stooped functioning because the wind blown sand from chowpatty was not taken care of. We need more foot paths/pavements and less of these money guzzling white elephants. The police will testify to the fact that the chain snatching occurs only for those walking on the road when there are bad footpaths, even those that exist are encroached by hawkers and shop keepers. There are more cars than foot paths. Morning and evening walkers have to bring in their cars just because there are no pavements to come to open spaces more elders have fallen victims to injuries on bad foot paths. The BRTS isan excellent solution will it work when motorists don't give way to fire engines and ambulances?


7 years ago

Sadly, we can do precious little... Our surroundings are rife with such instances aplenty.... it is not only scandal... It is completely amoral... and more than criminal. There should be provision to book these people responsible for homicide of ppl loosing lives


7 years ago

Can not the new Chief Minister stop or keep on hold major, apparently public improvement projects, until there is better public participation and comments on each scheme? Details of every scheme planned, needs to be put online and advertised in the print media for people to comment online which can be read by other citizens so that some sort of trend of opinions can be discerned for further action. For all this adequate time must be given for people to comment. Will the new CM oblige for better citizen participation and greater transparency?


7 years ago

Dear Sir,

Thank you for propagating BRTS & Skybus projects. I have read all your articles in the past & it is surprising to see that inspite of your repeated requests to implement BRTS & Skybus, MMRDA continues to stick to the outdated & expensive technologies like Metro & Monorail.

Sir in case if you require our support to make this city a lot better please let us know. Together we can & together we will.

We are really proud of you. We are happy to see that a person of your stature is actively taking up the issues which will improve our quality of life in Mumbai.


'Selected' customers still waiting for delivery of Tata Nano

Even as Tata Motors is offering the small car for open sales in a few more states, many customers from the initial one lakh group are still waiting to receive their vehicles

Tata Motors Ltd, India's largest vehicle manufacturer by revenue, is yet to complete the delivery of its small car, Nano, to a privileged batch of the first one lakh select customers and another 55,000 who have retained the bookings they made 16 months ago. This, despite the small car being also made at a second plant at Sanand in Gujarat, since June.

"Tata Motors has delivered 70,817 cars, as at the end of October 2010," a company official said. "The total production since April 2009 till the end of October 2010 is 71,700. Since deliveries started in July 2009, we began reporting monthly production numbers to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), along with the monthly sales data. If you take the production from July 2009 till the end of October 2010, it is 69,415 cars."

However, the figures don't tally with the figures provided by SIAM. According to a SIAM report, between April 2009 and October 2010, Tata Motors produced 50,269 units of Tata Nano and sold (delivered, in fact) 50,985 units during the period.
The company said in a statement: "Tata Motors' new 2,50,000 cars per year plant at Sanand (Gujarat) is fully operational. Production at the plant is being speedily ramped up, for instant delivery."

In July, Moneylife had reported that production constraints at Sanand and Pantnagar plants had forced Tata Motors to delay delivery as well as open sales of Tata Nano by a few months. (Read more

The Sanand plant, which started operations in June 2010, has a capacity to produce 2.5 lakh Nanos a year. But, till date, Tata Motors has not been able to produce more that 5,000 Nanos a month, from both the plants. The company official declined to provide details of production at each of the plants.

According to a report by the Press Trust of India, vendors of Tata Nano have been told to scale up the supply of components by three times by March 2011, to make about 10,000 units monthly.

In addition, Tata Motors has been delivering Nanos to a select 1.5 lakh customers as well as making open sales in select markets. Deliveries for one lakh customers began in July 2009 and this was followed by deliveries to over 55,000 customers who have preferred to retain their booking.

In mid-August, the company started open market sales of the Nano in Kerala. In October, it added Maharashtra, Karnataka, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh to the list of states where people can buy the Nano directly from dealers. Today, the company announced open market sales in Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

Earlier this month, Tata Motors decided to install additional safety devices, especially for electrical and exhaust systems in all Nanos, to allay fears after fires in some vehicles.

The Nano was a huge hit among the middle class, with almost 2,03,703 people booking the vehicle in advance. At that time, Tata Motors shortlisted 1,00,000 owners through a computerised selection process. The company said that the cars were "price-protected" and that people would get the vehicle at "ex-showroom price". There was a further wait-list of 55,021 customers.


Repco Bank appoints Vardarajan as managing director

The Ministry of Home Affairs has appointed R Varadarajan as managing director of Repco Bank.

Mr Varadarajan, a post-graduate in agriculture, assumed charge on 28 October, 2010, a bank statement said.

Prior to taking up the new position, he was executive director of the Bank and had served it for more than four years, besides as general manager for six years.
He had also held various positions in Syndicate Bank for more than 23 years, it said.

Mr Varadarajan would also be the managing director of Repco Home Finance, the subsidiary of Repco Bank, the statement added.


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