Is Metro Rail not the answer for India’s urban transportation ?

 For four times the distance and costs less than one-fifth and the fact that there are other amenities the government/municipality needs to finance, it is quite straight forward answer to the question “Is Metro Rail not the answer for India’s urban transportation

“India is urbanizing rapidly”, a phrase we have been hearing for some time. What does that mean in reality? It means people with low levels of civic amenities they were accustomed to in rural settings have to cope up with overloaded higher level civic amenities in urban settings. Although there are several kinds of civic amenities and services that provide better quality of life in rural settings from fulfilment of basic necessities, the aspirations of human intellect and avenues to reach them is available in urban setting. Urban setting also ensures certainty of livelihood for which people move over to urban areas from rural settings.

India has two cities with population more than 10 million (one crore) now termed as mega cities. In fact we must talk of urban agglomerates (UAs) and we have in India three UAs. There are four other UAs with population more than 4 million (40 lakh) called metro cities. Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad are all 40 lakh plus cities, with Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata termed as mega cities. Pune is on the verge of becoming a metro city. There are several cities, almost touching 35 in number, which are a million plus. There are six UAs holding between 2 million and 4 million people.

Although travel for socializing and entertainment do exist, daily travelling or commuting to work and livelihood forms the main travel load in our cities. With physical spread along with growth in population in these cities, average travel distances do keep increasing. Commensurate with earnings of citizens of a particular city, there is a land use pattern that evolves organically to enable poorer sections to walk or cycle to work and the not-so-poor to take to motorized two wheelers (M2Ws) or public transport. Only the affluent own and use motor cars. Ordinarily, the million plus cities have 20% to 30% of its population using bicycles. M2W user and motor car user proportion is also not very small in these four million less cities because these cities do not have any public transport worth the name, or not at all, and the distances travelled daily are not unaffordable.

Liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation since 1992, no doubt has resulted in growing gross domestic product (GDP) and per capita incomes, but so has inflation in recent years not remained low either.

With growing urban sprawl, it may appear that the average travel distances would keep increasing. But the reality is non-availability of affordable housing to poorer sections of society whereby the growth of slums have taken place. Mumbai’s slum population hovers around 55% and Bengaluru’s is growing from 8% in 2001 census to about 30% in 2011 census. Transportation, too, needs to be affordable financially as well as from travel time point of view.

The ideal situation is mixed land use, but keeping hazardous and polluting industries and activities segregated from residential and commercial areas. Residential areas, too, must have adequate proportion of accommodation for the poor who serve the affluent in different ways. Most situations of Indian cities have this characteristic. This makes reasonably short average travel distances for commuting.

Take the case of Mumbai where 57% of its population lives within 3 km from their place of work; 69% within 5 km; 81% within 10 km and 89% within 15 km. There is another statistics that matches with this. 44% of people in Mumbai go to work by foot, without using any motorised or non-motorised modes. 3.1% using bicycles out number 2.8% using motor cars. 22% use the suburban railway and 16% use the road public transport. About 3.5% use the intermediate transport such as auto-rickshaws and taxis, leaving 8.5% who use motorised two wheelers.

All over India, the population of M2Ws is increasing at a phenomenal rate due to its operating competitiveness from economy and convenience point of view in comparison to the road public transport. With growing income levels and inadequate public transport, even the motor car population and usage is on the rapid rise mode.

To counter the trend as this growth of personal vehicle usage will lead to considerable air and noise pollution, the National Urban Transport Policy gives directive to improve public transport. But the aspirations of people are whetted by sleek marketing and attractive financial packages for motorised vehicles. Similarly, the aspirations of cities have been raised to wanting to proudly boast of having a Metro Rail and Monorail. Are such whetting good for the cities is the question. Let us look at the Metro Rail.

With about 20% of Metro lines underground, the average cost of Metro per kilometre is being stated to be Rs250 crore while it works out to more than Rs400 cr/km in Mumbai. If we consider that every 40 million plus city in India is having an aspiration of having a Metro Rail, that each city is about 25 x 25 kilometre, each of these metro cities will have about 50 km of Metro Rail. This would mean total length of Metro Rail will come to about 50 x 4 = 200 km. At an average cost of Rs250 cr/km, the total sum these four metro cities will come to Rs50,000 crore. Nearly 350 km of Delhi Metro, 150 km of Mumbai Metro and 300 km of Metro Rail in Mumbai Metropolitan region and similarly 150 km in Kolkata will bring the investment to the tune of Rs3,25,000 crore.

Unfortunately, for the Metro Rail line to be able to attract commuters commensurate with its carrying capacity, especially to be utilized to justify such high investment, one will have to provide a network of feeder road public transport services or intermediate public transport services and car parking spaces. If that be the case, what tangible benefits would the Metro Rail provide that a Bus Rapid Transit System cannot, is the question one would like to have an answer to? A BRTS will cost up to Rs15 cr/km and can provide capacities high enough not to be considered just a provider of feeder service to Metro Rail but be a competing transportation mode on its own right. Since cities comprise properties and accesses i.e. land and road network, it is a natural corollary to have buses run on them with priority to enable large number of people to cover larger distances; for medium distances bicycles and for short distances, walking as modes of mobility. Running buses with priority means a system of Bus Rapid Transit. Thus, even if we provide not 1,150 km in 2 million plus UAs but say 4,600 km of BRTS in all these 2 million plus UAs, it would cost just about Rs60,000 crore as against 1,150 km of Metro Rail’s Rs3,25,000 crore. And what do we get for this? We get four times the length of a bus service as that of Metro Rail length, in a way covering much larger area and there by serve larger number of people, at costs one-fifth of Metro Rail costs.

When cities get good mobility, there is bound to be economic growth. If city gets into a ‘jam’ over a long period, can there be any significant economic growth and thereby improvement in quality of life?

And let us not forget that with Metro Rail projects moving at super-snail’s pace, as we see it happening in Mumbai and Bengaluru, all that we will be dong is keep pouring money and not get any relief. Let us also realise that while India is rapidly getting urbanized, it is happening in Tier II and Tier III cities. The Government of India is seriously planning to put up a Metro Rail network in cities with more than 20 lakh (2 million plus) population. This will only raise the aspirations of these cities on the wrong track, achieve nothing for their majority inhabitants. The investment is enormous and it will be possible only at the cost of adding to the misery of rest of India.

While we have confined arguments to transportation and specifically Metro Rail, a city has to provide amenities and services such as water supply, sewage disposal, walkable footpaths, non-motorised vehicle lanes, medical infrastructure, education, playgrounds, gardens, recreation grounds, fire-fighting, public health and what have you. When large sums get spent on transportation sector, where from does one generate funds for the other amenities and services? 

 

Does the question “Is Metro Rail not the answer for India’s Urban Transportation?” find an answer above?

(Sudhir Badami is a Civil Engineer and Transportation Analyst. He is on Government of Maharashtra’s Steering Committee on BRTS for Mumbai and Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority’s Technical Advisory Committee on BRTS for Mumbai. He is also member of Research & MIS Committee of Unified Mumbai Metropolitan Transport Authority. He was member of Bombay High Court appointed erstwhile Road Monitoring Committee (2006-07). While he has been an active campaigner against Noise for more than a decade, he is a strong believer in functioning democracy. He can be contacted on email at [email protected])
 

 

 

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    COMMENTS

    Sudhir Badami

    8 years ago

    In response to 17 Comments here and about 11 on the facebook, I continued with the topic in the Part II which can be read at http://moneylife.in/article/is-metro-rai...

    I feel that I have addressed each and every comment directly or through answers to some other comment or the other. If it is felt that I have not addressed any specific argument placed in some of the comments, please reiterate them.

    Bharat Singh

    8 years ago

    You have pointed out the true issue of Urban India. It's addressing the walkability of urban India that is more crucial than HCMT. Cities need a holistic approach to urban development, i.e. the integration of transportation, land use and urban design policies to smoothly integrate all modes of travel. This way any investment in transit be it Metro, BRT, local bus or walking, there is a direct connection to the destination desired. Land use and urban design also plays a big role in encouraging non vehicular modes of travel. What is the point of putting a metro station in a location where accessing it is an issue (The IP estate station in Delhi is case in point).

    Mayuresh

    8 years ago


    Dear Sir,

    The article provides very interesting data points.
    ..i am just wondering what could be the reason for this (Stats for Mumbai)...mainly 57% population living within 3 km from their workplace & 44% people going to work by foot ...
    is it that the data includes population working in unorganised sector, contract labor, people working in small industries, self employed people running own shops or small establishments? and this segment comprises of the 57% & 44% ....
    also if you could share the year for which the data pertains & the source of the data ...

    Regards,
    Mayuresh

    Atif Hussain

    8 years ago

    Great diagnosis, with right research.

    very true conclusions.

    Conceptually, the most critical aspect of transport within city is last mile connectivity, which unfortunately, metro rail/etc do not serve. Look at China - it is investing huge in rail, but for inter-city only. Also investing in alternate transportation, is much more costlier than strengthening existing transport backbone; and less useful, as both still have to run on the scarce urban landscape.

    The author graduated from IIM Bangalore, with focus in public policy.
    Lived in Hyderabad, Bangalore, Delhi.

    A Rajaraman

    8 years ago

    Dear Sri Badami,

    I have read your article on the subject (and noticed that the corrected map has been put) and fully agree with you. Your article not surprisingly is well researched your being in so many high level committee and in a position to effect a policy decision.

    Metros is a high cost option for maybe low density rich countries. India being generously populated country we should have a low cost sustainable transport system such as BRTS with short distances being covered from the bus stops to work/living places by share auto/shuttle buses. It will also generate self employment avenues for the local population.

    I have another idea which I want you to ponder on and maybe impress upon the powers. Practically all our cites have overgrown its limits and any amount of facilities cannot sustain the population. India has vast land stretches of waste lands sparsely populated. With the estimated Rs 325000 crores can’t we build new towns with proper infrastructure taking care for housing for poor and migrants, in these land and convert it into prosperous areas. Only water has to transported to these areas through pipes. Even Bengaluroo in 70’s with much lesser population was crying for water and various Kavery water schemes were floated, now we do not hear of any water scarcity in Bengaluroo despite the huge increase in the size and population of the city. These towns should be away from major cities as the earlier scheme of making satellite cities have practically failed as people of satellite cities travel into the major cities for job, education and businesses. These town should not have big plots but functional clusters of houses and industrial/commercial areas so that they can be well connected with public transport or even cycle rickshaws right from the beginning.

    Regards

    Yours faithfully,

    A.Rajaraman
    Mumbai

    K B Patil

    8 years ago

    A thoroughly interesting article and from the comments, one can see that readers are very involved in this matter. My opinion is that BRT is feasible if only the roads are sufficiently wide as in Lutyen's Delhi. Bangalore, the city where I grew up, does not have wide enough roads and so, public opinion will be strongly against BRT. Right now, the people of Bangalore are proud of their metro and happy to use it. The only drawback is the high cost and the slow progress.

    a v moorthi besides TIHAR

    8 years ago

    not many know that today about 20 lakh user trips take place daily in Delhi Metro when it is 10 years since the first train was on rails and today it covers over 100 kms thro 7 routes which criss cross across at least thro one or more routes so in a way all 7 routes are inter connected. another important point was the first route was laid in what is generally recalled as Yamuna paar - the resettlement colony plannede by Sanjay Gandhi where the poor were shifted during emergency so that they got stay in pucca houses instead of slums where they used to live. once that route operational rest of Delhi yearned for such a facility and confident DMRC will deliver and courts didnot grant any stay when private property were acquired by DMRC because DMRC settled compensation in a transparemt manner. stations like chawri bazar is an example of what our engineers are capable of doing when they have access to latest tools for diging tunnels. stations in dwaraka section numbering over 10 are show case stations . yes resources for Metro can be raised by using space adjacent to Metro station . additionally savings in commuting time, oil bill for nation , clean environment etc are enormous and in valuable

    REPLY

    A Rajaraman

    In Reply to a v moorthi besides TIHAR 8 years ago

    Is Delhi Metro self sustaining?

    PPM

    8 years ago

    THERE IS A WILL, THERE IS A WAY. Indian politicians and officials never bothered about the welfare of the people, becasue Indians are submissive and selfish - ready to bribe to get things done - never raise their voice even.

    Ganesh Krishnan

    8 years ago

    In Mumbai, we now have an excellent network of flyovers connecting, Thane, Borivili and Navi Mumbai to SOBO. These flyovers have not solved the problem of traffic which still moves at a snail's pace. My suggestion is that we should convert the flyovers into BRTS and allow the other traffic in the roads below. The advantage is that we can get BRTS at no additional cost and once it becomes operative, there is no incentive for private cars to be on the roads.

    Sudhir Badami

    8 years ago

    Looks like I am getting plenty to explain about BRTS for Mumbai. I will await some more independent questions and then address each one. I would appreciate if the person mentions which city s/he lives in.

    The issue is not just of Transportation that the government/municipal corporations have to take care of and although money is not such a rare commodity, but when it comes to other amenities, the quantum of money getting 'eaten away' by the Metro renders it near impossible to complete.

    malq

    8 years ago

    Badami ji, with specific reference to Mumbai and in context with your article, may I add some ground realities please?

    1) Where is the space on Mumbai's existing roads to provide for a BRTS system which will have bus lanes, non-bus lanes, cycle lanes and pedestrian paths - in addition to proper bus stops?

    2) The present dispensation in Mumbai does not even have the will to provide bus connections for intermodal exchanges between airports and the rest of the city. That's a reality.

    3) Where will all these buses be parked, please, especially if they also need overnight parking bays in the city area, South Mumbai - and what are the options for a separate bus service in competition to BEST running on the same routes (like Delhi's cluster bus services).

    4) The cost of fuel as well as manpower for a larger number of buses versus the cost of power and manpower for running trains on metro rail lines.

    5) The largest issue of pollution due to emissions is not addressed, and needs be factored in, too.

    As far as the main plank of your arguments on investments are concerned, the big issue here is that it takes one honest man to head an organisation where the larger issue is not just the investment and financial closure, but also a solid rock strong control on misuse of that investment. That would be easier, given the nature of the legislations already in position for passenger transport over rail than similar over road on motor vehicles.

    Humbly submitted, but 2 million direct beneficiaries in Delhi as well as many more who benefit indirectly, would place the social benefits way above any other parameter.

    Regards/VM

    4)

    REPLY

    Jim

    In Reply to malq 8 years ago

    I agree with Veeresh Sir. I am from Ahmedabad where the much touted BRTS is running "successfully". Let me put forth both the sides of the coin. On the plus side is the fact that since BRTS runs on dedicated corridor the distance and time factor has benefits. It has put A'bad on international platform. It has come as a huge relief to thousands of office goers upto the middle and senior executive level, who have started tavelling in brts leaving behind their scooters, bikes and car. Partly thanks to the rising costs of fuel and CNG. Also a boon to college students. Now the minus side of arguments. Anybody who has travelled in BRTS would have experienced the rash driving, the sudden pick up. I have seen so many passengers fall inside the bus when it picks up speed after leaving each terminus. This is mainly because the special corridors are empty and the buses become dangerous fast machines in the hands of young BRTS drivers. The BRTS corridors are built by expanding the existing roads. But there is a limit to which the exising roads can be expanded. So what happens is traffic chaos, long queues of traffic, honking and impatience on the narrow roads just beside the wide empty BRTS corridor. My idea of building infrastructure is "creating" infrastructure and not overcrowding the existng infrastructure. With BRTS you are creating chaos, unruly traffic mess, space mismanagement while building Metro means creating a whole new world underneath your feet. With world class engineering and political will we can create a new system of Metro trains, platforms, stations, shopping areas etc. That means that people would have the option of travelling by Metro, local trains, buses or taxis , as they wish or afford.

    Haris

    8 years ago

    This is one of the most ignorant articles I've read in a decade.

    If you still cannot recognize the fact that Delhi Metro will breakeven on the basis of green credits alone by 2013 (approx. in a decade of its existence), there is no helping this author.

    The metro is the ONLY solution to megacities transport problems. Forget about the economic rate of return, I am talking strictly on the basis of social costs recovery alone. It is taking about a decade to breakeven on metro on all cities so far planned.

    The economic returns are only an additional advantage that havent even been discussed yet.

    The writer is one of the dumbest people I've had to come across in the history of humankind, including Darwin's humankind.

    surajit som

    8 years ago

    it is well known that wherever metro goes ,land price shoots up. i know because i am a beneficiary of delhi metro. i live in dwarka ,delhi. there are tens of thousands like me. why dont we develop land and then sell to finance metro ,at least in part ? roads ,railways in america were built that way.

    secondly out megacities are mega dense. where is the land to make roads ? can we blow up buildings and make roads ? probably not. there will be millions of new court cases and not even one km of road will be made.

    what about the comparative cost of maintenance of metro and road? what about the ecological benefits of metro? what about the cost of traffic jam and pollution?

    let us remember that we could have built thousands of kilometres of metro with the money we lost in CWG ,2G scam etc.

    let us not make metro the whipping boy. delhi would come to a standstill without metro.



    Jeevan Balwant

    8 years ago

    Metro Rail project is an ill-conceived idea at this stage of infrastructural development in Mumbai.
    Andheri-Kurla road is a classic example of the mess that metro rail project has created since the past 2 years.
    The govt is planning a world class metro rail but it is not concerned about improving the road below. Andheri-Kurla road has become very dangerous due to constant digging, wrongful parking of vehicles, piling up of debris, uneven paver blocks, huge craters, blind diversions and mismanaged traffic.
    Mumbai desperately needs smooth roads, proper lane demarcations, systematic parking slots, broader footpaths sans illegal stalls and squatters, visible road signs and comfortable BEST bus-stops and marked Auto/taxi stands.


    Arun Iyer

    8 years ago

    "Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad are all 40 million plus cities, with Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata termed as mega cities."

    40 million plus cities! Wow!
    Where do you get such enviable information from?

    REPLY

    Sudhir Badami

    In Reply to Arun Iyer 8 years ago

    Apologies, should have been 40 lacs or 4 million.

    Schools of the future

     The future of the world depends on a new change in schooling system, thus ushering in an era of sharing, caring and universal compassion—the true religion for the masses

    "The highest education is that which does not merely give us information but makes our life in harmony with all existence.” -- Rabindranath Tagore

    Life is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as ceaseless change till death. “Anything that does not change does not come under the definition of science” wrote a federal judge in the US while delivering his judgment in a dispute between the Creationists and Scientists. Human life history is the story of the evolution of this Universe itself. If one wants to understand the nature of Nature one has just got to understand human nature which is a miniscule of this universe itself. We are obsessed with science today. The word science brings goose-pimples on many of us. Indian schools do not seem to have changed ever since the East India Company destroyed our ancient school system some time in the early 19th century. There have, of course, been some cosmetic changes in that schools today have become big corporate businesses and they have also got a bit of American flavor. However, the philosophy of feeding the young creative minds with useless dead information seems to be our goal. Rote learning for getting grades is the order of the day. Grades should make wealthy careers at the end of the day is the philosophy accepted by the greedy parents as also the powers that be in the educational system, and some of the powerful industrial honchos who see nothing wrong in education being a big business.

    The vital part of education, which is to try and make healthy minds, is all but lost in this milieu. Our education, especially the primary one, which matters a lot, is, therefore, unscientific by definition, as it has not changed. The aforementioned federal judge would have declared our educational system as a religion, which I think it is slowly becoming by Karl Marx’s opinion that a religion is the “opium of the people”. The actual complete quote from 1843-44 Karl Marx’s book Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right is more nuanced, though. Marx did not ridicule religion by this statement; rather he thought that religion is an extension of his own thinking. He goes on to say that: “To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions”. That was in a way Marx’s own opium in one sentence since the “human essence has not acquired any true reality”. Yet instead of the crude opium reference there is that beautifully poetic conclusion “of that vale of tears of which religion is the halo”. To call upon our present school system bosses to change would be exactly like what Marx felt about asking for change in his times. Spirituality—sharing and caring—is not only the essence of all religions but also the ageless wisdom of man, which has very little to do with ritualistic religions.

    Science today tells us that the world began with the Big Bang. I wonder if there was a big bang or a small whimper! For 750 million long years, they say, that there was no life on earth. The first life came as a single cell which could do all that you and I can do today-breathe, eat, excrete, think, and work. That stage went on for more than a trillion and half years when these single cell individuals wisely thought that it is better to get together as a colony to work more efficiently with least expense. They had a fertile brain in their cell wall (membrane), called the memBrain by a famous cell biologist, Bruce Lipton. They could sense their environment through antennae in their cell walls, their brain, called Integral Membrane Proteins (IMPs). These could make the cells come alive to the environment (universal consciousness) to have own their individual consciousness. Figuratively life gets born then like your actors on the TV screen. When that antenna does not get the message (when you switch off your TV) life ebbs out just as the TV actor dies when the switch goes off. The consciousness gets into, may be another cell immediately after that- life again. So death is only a part of life and not its end! Thus the human body is a happy colony of 50 trillion individual cells.

    Why did the single free-floating cells come together then? They, in their wisdom, realized that they are better off and stronger if they came together in larger groups as they could expand their individual consciousnesses many fold by increasing the IMPs exponentially! How wise of them? As time passed they realised that each one of them need not do all the work that needs to be done. They could share their responsibilities. Some cell groups inside the body became what we call today organs doing specific tasks more efficiently. But they did not lose sight of the fact that they were all functionally identical even when they morphologically different to fit that organ e.g. brain looking after overseeing the total function of locomotion, etc. In this new role they found that they could care for others better. Thus evolved the philosophy of spirituality—sharing and caring! Body cells therefore love one another. This could be seen under the electron-microscope in disease conditions. In a fresh fracture site the red blood cells in the clot could gradually change to pluri-potent stem cells to heal the fracture eventually! Same cells but different work. These endogenous stem cells are our best doctors in all disease states.

    Education, therefore, should teach the young mind that it is in sharing and caring that the world can go on for good. Our grading system, on the contrary, puts negative thoughts of greed, hatred, jealousy, anger and pride into that innocent, creative, loving, and compassionate mind of a child. Scientific studies have shown that if students in a class with varied levels of intelligence could be taught the principles of collective compassionate sharing efforts they all get high grades in the final examination! This is conducive to good health as well since body cells enjoy working together, anyway. Health is defined today as “enthusiasm to work and enthusiasm to be compassionate.” Those who do not have either or both of those are really sick! In that definition society as a whole is becoming sick today with no compassion. Recent noise about “Wall Street” greed is but a sign of that universal sickness that is overtaking our present society; rather it is the corporate greed that would eventually destroy all God-given resources of nature. The root cause for this disease is the wrong type of primary education that turns a universally compassionate, creative, God-like child into a greedy, angry, proud man/woman who joins the rat race to acquire money, power and parking lots! The future of the world depends on a new change in schooling system, thus ushering in an era of sharing, caring and universal compassion—the true religion for the masses. 

        “Education is not the amount of information that is put into your brain and runs riot there, undigested all your life. We must have life-building, man-making and character-making assimilation of ideas.” -- Swami Vivekananda.

    (Professor Dr BM Hegde was awarded a Padma Bhushan in 2010. Prof Dr Hegde has a string of degrees to his credit like MD, PhD, FRCP (Lond, Edin, Glasg, & Dublin), FACC and FAMS. He is also Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the Science of Healing Outcomes, Chairman of the State Health Society's Expert Committee, Govt of Bihar, Patna. He is former Vice Chancellor of Manipal University at Mangalore and former professor for Cardiology of the Middlesex Hospital Medical School, University of London. Prof Dr Hegde can be contacted at [email protected]

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    COMMENTS

    pravin

    8 years ago

    give me a break professor.enough of the preaching.india needs entrepreneurs and not silly indoctrination centres.parents,families are responsible for the values -sharing ,compassion etc.if the school fellows could simply concentrate on the simple matter of teaching math,science and language,it would be better.anyway,you'll all be eradicated by free teaching on the internet.
    as far as rishi valley types are concerned,i've a couple of friends who graduated from it.impractical girls with no knowledge or ambition to succeed.mooching off papa's money to study literature and art history.we dont want such citizens .we want doers.

    Nikki

    8 years ago

    Dear Proffessor

    Would you agree that to give root and wings to young boys they need to be fearless and conquerors since the ruthlessness of today's world confuses kindness with weakness ?
    Basically Nehruvian tug of war with Keynesian values creating a breed of cannibalistic vegetarians a dichotomy in every days actions and reactions...
    Schools like Doons or cathedral maintain great character building alas not affordable for the common mortals the divide begins there with the purse

    Narendra Doshi

    8 years ago

    Dear Prof Hegde,
    Can you please give details of any such schools, existing in Mumbai or even near equivalents?
    At what age do you feel the child should join such a school?

    REPLY

    BM Hegde

    In Reply to Narendra Doshi 8 years ago

    Rishi Valley in Bangalore might come close to it.
    I think a child should not go to school till at least six years to enjoy the real childhood. The real education happens at home. The environment is the best teacher

    Narendra Doshi

    In Reply to BM Hegde 8 years ago

    Shri Hegde,
    Tks for your comments.
    1 Pl provide homepage of Rishi Valley, Bangalore.
    2 What is your guidance for preschool/primary school girls?
    3 What is the preference of order: SSC/CBSE/ICSE/IGCSE/IB/NIOS especially for Mumbai settled parents?
    4 At what girl child age and which schools in Mumbai would you recommend?

    BM hegde

    In Reply to Narendra Doshi 8 years ago

    I dont know Bombay schools. If there is any Amarithavidyalaya try that.
    Girls will be much better off there.
    CBSC is good as one could try and get fighter chances anywhere in India.

    How Vinita Kamte used RTI to nail Control Room's negligence during 26/11 attack

    Three years have passed by since the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack in which the country's three most brilliant police officers, Hemant Karkare, Ashok Kamte and Vijay Salaskar were killed. Despite Mr Kamte's wife Vinita establishing through call log records procured under the RTI Act, the negligence of the Police Control Room which clearly led to the unfortunate tragedy, no action has been taken against those guilty for it

    Call log records procured from the Mumbai Police under the RTI Act proved that negligence in communication by the Control Room to officers on Ground Zero at Cama Hospital on the Mumbai terror night of 26 November 2008, led to the unfortunate loss of lives of India's three brilliant police officers—Hemant Karkare, Ashok Kamte and Vijay Salaskar. Vinita Kamte, wife of Late Ashok Kamte, who established this fact, was made to run from pillar to post to procure vital information from Mumbai Police under the RTI Act. An account worth rewinding three years after the terror attack as it reflects the tenacity of an individual to challenge a government system interested only in cover-ups. It also establishes that come what may, the government will support its officers who showed no sense of duty during such circumstances, for allegedly its own vested interest. It also, at the same time, reminds one of the immense powers of the RTI Act. It will also serve as an inspiration to others who are treated with contempt by the government in maintaining secrecy of information which is rightly the affected citizen’s! It also proves that you must have a dogged determination to pursue your RTI application and not expect replies to fall into your lap, at the first go.
     
    Why did Vinita Kamte invoke the RTI Act?
     
    Because, after her husband, Ashok Kamte, additional commissioner, eastern region, Mumbai was killed along with anti-terrorist squad chief Hemant Karkare and encounter specialist Vijay Salaskar, the press statements given by the Mumbai Police and the state government implied they foolishly came together and died, without giving a fight. The popular statements being: “We don’t know how they went together'”, “they met there fortuitously (by chance) (as stated by the superficial Ram Pradhan Committee Report, too)” and “they did not understand the gravity of the situation.”'
     
    Being a senior police officer’s wife, she first directly contacted Mumbai Police
     
    28 January 2009: She wrote a letter to the commissioner of police, Mumbai, requesting for Ashok’s call log records on both the mobile networks—Motorola and Ericsson. This would establish the communication between the Control Room and the mobile phones of Ashok Kamte.
     
    31 January 2009: Vinita receives a reply from the Mumbai Police Commissioner stating that the joint commissioner of police has been “directed to take further necessary action in the matter”.  However, Vinita waited for a month but she got no response after which she was compelled to use the RTI Act.
     
    4 March 2009:  Vinita files a RTI application with the Public Information Officers (Assistant Commissioner of Police, Co-ordination) at the Commissioner of Police office, Mumbai. She requests certified copies of call log records (wireless) in both the written form as well as audio transcripts.
     
    4 April 2009: Quite predictably, the PIO rejects the application citing Section 8 (h) which states that information can be denied as “information which would impede the process of investigation or apprehension or prosecution of offenders”. The PIO had also enclosed a letter by joint CP Rakesh Maria which stated, “Please reject the information sought by Mrs Vinita Kamte under the RTI Act. The information cannot be given to her under Sec 8 (h) of the said Act.”'
     
    29 April 2009: Vinita files first an appeal with the appellate authority, deputy commissioner of police, SM Sabade.
     
    25 May 2009: Mr Sabade orders that the PIO was wrong in rejecting her request of call log records without applying his mind as to why he is doing so and has depended solely on Mr Maria’s letter which also does not specify the reason for rejection. He states that Mr Kamte and the other officers had laid down their lives for the country and it was wrong to reject Mrs Kamte’s request on baseless grounds. However, in his order he allowed only inspection of records and denied Photostat copies/CDs of the same. This was in total contradiction of the RTI Act which gives the right to the citizen to procure copies.
     
    3 June 2009: Nevertheless, Vinita’s twin sister, Revati Dere who is an established advocate at the Bombay High Court and who helped Vinita immensely in analyzing the call log records went for inspection nevertheless. After keeping her waiting for quite a while, a sub inspector put before her some loose sheets which were Photostat copies of the written call log records. When Revati demanded that she would like to inspect the original call log records. She was told that they were handed over to the Ram Pradhan Committee Report. He asked them to come on 6th June by which time he will get the original documents.
     
    8 June 2009: Revati was told that the originals were not as yet procured.
     
    9 June 2009: Vinita wrote to the members of the Ram Pradhan Committee report requesting that, since the work of the Commission is over, could they send back the original call log records back to the Mumbai police as she would like to inspect them under RTI.
     
    11 June 2009: Shockingly, V Balchandran, member of the Ram Pradhan Committee replied via email stating that the committee had received only the certified copies of the call log records—which meant, the Mumbai Police had not provided the original call log records to them. On the same day, Vinita wrote to the Commissioner of Police regarding this issue.
     
    12 June 2009: Mumbai Police suddenly realizes it needs to consult its legal department over the order given by the Appellate Authority Mr Sabade in allowing inspection of call log records. Isn’t this a joke?
     
    7 July 2009: Mr Prasad stated to Vinita that legal advice was already sought and again told Vinita she could only ‘see'’ the documents and not have Photostat copies.
     
    20 July 2009: Vinita wrote to Mr Prasad saying that while she will go ahead and ‘see'’ the records, she reserves the right to go into second appeal to have copies.
     
    29 and 30 July 2009: Vinita sends her representatives for inspection of call log records but they were not shown the originals. Even the audio call log records shown were dated 6th January, a month and a half after the incident, so certainly not the original recording.
     
    4 August 2009: Vinita files a separate RTI application seeking call log records, written and audio, made to Police Control Room no 100 on the night of 26/11. Her application was rejected on 4th September on flimsy grounds. She filed the first appeal to the first appellate authority and received the same reply after several months.
     
    21 August 2009: Vinita files a second appeal to the state chief information commissioner seeking the original copies of the call logs, both written and audio.
     
    15 October 2009: The state chief information commissioner, Mumbai allowed her appeal and directed Mumbai Police to give her certified copies of the original call log records—written and audio—within 30 days. That’s how she finally got her information.
     
    What was the scandalous information she got from these call log records?

    • That, Ashok Kamte did not go there hurriedly or by chance as was being portrayed by the state home ministry and Mumbai Police. He was called from his Eastern Region where he was carrying out nakabandi, to South Mumbai by Mumbai’s Police Commissioner
    •  That, ATS Chief Hemant Karkare at 11.24pm had asked for police reinforcement of at least 150 policemen to seal the front side of the Cama Hospital (they were at the rear end where dreaded terrorists Ajmal Kasab and Mohammed Ismail were firing from their AK-47 guns towards the officers and were also hurling grenades). He also ordered in that call log record, to call the Army immediately.
    • That, after the three officers lay injured, two police vans—one after three minutes of the firing in the Rang Bhavan Lane adjacent to Cama Hospital—passed by but did not stop for help or report to the Control Room. Then after about 30 minutes, another police vehicle passed by, but despite the officers lying on the road, profusely bleeding, the vehicle did not stop for help
    • That, while the Mumbai Police claims to have sent 150 policemen as per instructions of Mr Karkare, they were not around probably because they were not asked to specifically report to Me Karkare or Mr Kamte, a basic protocol adopted while giving such instructions That, more than two dozen calls were made from nearby residents of the Cama Hospital (before the skirmish between the officers and the two terrorists) urging the constables who answered the phones to send police immediately as two terrorists were lurking around in their housing society premises and filling ammunition in their guns. None of these details were reported by the Control Room to the three officers at the back gate of the Cama Hospital
    •  If the calls to no. 100 from the public were informed by the Control Room to Mr Karkare and Mr Kamte, they would have known that the two terrorists had escaped from the front gate of Cama Hospital (note that Mr Karkare’s orders to send police to front gate was clearly not taken cognizance of) and had taken a right turn into the Rang Bhavan Lane and perhaps the story would have been reversed—the two terrorists would have been killed. Also the control room should have on its own accord sent police as per the information by the public
    • Due to delay in taking the three injured officers, probably Mr Kamte and Mr Salaskar died due to profuse bleeding. Mr Kamte was bleeding through the shoulder and only a bullet had superficially hit his head and exited. Mr Salaskar was alive for 10-12 minutes after he along with the two officers was taken to the hospital after a good 40 minutes of they being injured

     So, what happened despite such hard-hitting evidence brought forward by Vinita? Nothing. Officers who showed utter negligence have been promoted. Four additional commissioners, who have survived being posted in Mumbai for 20 years or more, ran away from duty that night, as stated later by the Mumbai police commissioner, but no action has been taken against them. If it was the Army, they would have faced court martial!
     
    Can we expect good and competent officers to come forward in case of another such terror attack? Probably not, considering the treatment given to these three officers who decided to lead in the front, rather than give it all in the hands of constables and junior police officers who were not equipped to handle AK-47s, leave alone operate them. And yet, they were criticized of ineptness, posthumously.

    (Vinita Deshmukh is a senior editor, author and convener of Pune Metro Jagruti Abhiyaan. She can be reached at [email protected])

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    COMMENTS

    Vidya Deshmukh

    1 year ago

    Madam, me mrs vinita kamthe written the book had read in the train ,manala hadravun taknare prasang hota to, me night dutyla office la hote, mazya office. Madhan sar kahi disat hota apan samanya manus , me pune to bhopal zelam express ne 26/11/2017 roji reservation bogi no 9, seat no 33 travelling karit hote, me apan lihilele book reading karit hote, I am alone, my age is 65 years, my husbond passed 2009, I was going for sister's daughter marriage, so I take some gold ornaments with me because my premises is closed thats why I took ornaments with me , I was reading book 01.30am on 27/11/2017, then I was sleeping, in that peroid my sutcase was cut out and stolen my costely things, I dont know, my sutcase was locked, with chain also locked, I made fri grp railway police, drm pune office also, I want to rti help , please guide me mazya ayushyachi kamai ahe ti, me mehanat karun jamvile ahe please help me

    Paul

    8 years ago

    THE NOTORIOUS BOMBAY/MUMBAI COPS !
    THE BOMBAY COPS REVOLT AND THE SUBSEQUENT USE OF THE MILITARY IN BOMBAY.
    THEY JUST STOOD AND WATCHED , SOMETIMES ENCOURAGED ATROCITIES DURING THE BOMBAY RIOTS.
    WATCH THE AWARD WINNING MOVIE "MANJA".

    mitra

    8 years ago

    My heart bleeds for the unfortunate victims of the cowardly terrorist act. I salute the gallant officers, and respect the tenacity of Ms Kamte to relentlessly persue her right.
    At the same time, I am filled with hatred for people who do character assassinations against 3 brave sons of India.

    sivaramanv

    8 years ago

    Good expose but it is a postmortem report.
    Communication is very vital and the attitude of the Police staff and Morale has to change at least now.
    Being an engineer in security electronics,I can help concerned for updating their communication systems if called for....

    Nitin Kirtane

    8 years ago

    The truth has to come out about this matter , very sad thta our three decorated officers gave up their life fighting for the country , , what exactly happened should be known , I salute Mrs Kamte for her courage to get the truth out , she deserves all the support , all the best , hope she gets justice one day , very good article by Mrs Deshmukh , all the best

    girish deshpande

    8 years ago

    while i doff my hat off to the young widow's dogged perseverence (and yours too) amidst the personal tragedy of huge proportions, nothing really has moved. infact developments that have happened (reinstatements, promotions etc) may have further rubbed salt into the perhaps yet festering wound. clearly by itself the RTI is hopelessly inadequate for us citizens to break thru the armour behind which our political class revels in misdeeds upon misdeeds. clearly, therefore again, getting involved into the political process is inevitable (as evident from the Team Anna's recent public statement that the anti-corruption movement cannot be called aplotical). my humble prayer again to the three gutsy women, especially to mrs vinita kamte - a good acquaintance, and to you vinita - an activist friend, and to the many many out there, is to leverage this expose' into a larger national good thru the political route. think about it in clear light and you will realize just how crucial the time has come to make this wise transition for a better governed India for us maybe, or for our kids.

    DNR

    8 years ago

    Sincerely appreciating the braveness of Smt. Vinita Kamte using RTI Act and may the almighty give her courage and confidence in helping her punishing the police officers and the Maharashtra politicians who neglected thier duty. All the Bharat vaasis are with Smt. Vinita Kamte

    Raja

    8 years ago

    If this is the fate of Senior Police Officers from their own men, then what to expect the fate of ordinary citizens like us?
    It is beyond doubt that the men in uniform use their position as money spinners and the call of duty is second priority either for seeking promotion or under political pressure.

    SANarayan

    8 years ago

    Hats off to Ms Vinita Kamte for her tenacity!

    sushil

    8 years ago

    this shows the attitude of our policy makers & politicians(self acclaimed patriots) towards real heroes ,but in turn they themselves acclaim to be true patriots whereas public opinion is reverse & this is being shown by public anger(sharad pawar incidnc, anna hazare incdnt ) but they refuse to learn. WE WANT GREAT BHAGAT SINGH,RAJGURU,SUBASH CHANDRABOSE ETC type persons so that they can lead & get rid of these polcy makers,politicians.

    I PRAY TO ALMIGHTY GOD TO REST THIE SOUL IN PEACE & HEARTLY CONGRATULATE MRS KAMTE FOR HER EFFORT TO BRING OUT TRUTH.

    bhaskar

    8 years ago

    I pray God gives more strength and courage to Mrs Vinita Kamte so that she can continue in her lone fight and those responsible for the callousness are punished.

    Java

    8 years ago

    The 26/11 attack showed up an antiquated and under-equipped police organisation, poor communication structures, non-accountability and under-trained staff. This RTI only confirms many of these observations. While Vinita Kamte deserves kudos for her heroic struggle to get the facts of that night, an even more important issue is - have we learnt from our mistakes and botch-ups, have we reorganised, re-trained and re-equipped ourselves based on that experience - and most importantly, have we tested and retested the new system to ensure that it works as planned, when it is put to test by another attack and does not crumble into a futile and expensive response, with loss of invaluable lives?

    Gopinath Prabhu

    8 years ago

    All I can this say, "It happens only in India"

    REPLY

    vaz

    In Reply to Gopinath Prabhu 8 years ago

    Unless there are drastic changes in police force and intensive training to handle such emergent situations, more 26/11's are in the pipeline.. God save us ...

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