Wednesday, July 30, 2014

#MumbaiMetroMess


I had written a blog on 21st July 2014 on the topic 
Traffic: The fulcrum of a Mumbaikar’s Quality of Life.

In continuation, My deeper analysis of the whole situation has led me to some facts.
I had mentioned in last blog that during the past 10 years only 11km out of 62 km planned metro line has been constructed and opened to public

Other projects promised have not even been launched till date. Who is the ultimate sufferer in all this?

Today many people whom I speak to seem to have reconciled to this lifestyle in Mumbai silently thinking that this is the price we have to pay as we want to stay in a Mega City known as land of opportunities and financial capital of India.
Based on some assumptions, I have derived most conservative loss estimates that Mumbaikars are facing . Hope this will raise a few eyebrows ….

On an average a Mumbaikar spends 2 Hours per day in endless traffic.

Assumption is 15,00,000(15 lacs) people are affected per day in traffic in Mumbai.

We assume there are 264 working days in a year.

So in one year we waste 79,20,00,000 manhours in traffic.

So in past 10 years 2004 to 2014 we have lost 7,92,00,00,000 Manhours in Traffic.

In Past ten years 2004-2014 we have lost 33,00,00,000 Man-days in traffic.

According to a recent study in 2013 conducted by the Transport Corporation of India and IIM (Kolkata), India faces a loss of Rs 600bn ($10.8bn) a year due to congestion, slow speed of freight and waiting time at toll plazas.

According to data mined by private firm Traffline and made available to Hindustan Times, on the Western Express Highway (WEH) alone, delays in south-bound traffic from Borivali to Bandra amounted to loss of fuel worth Rs 61.5 lakh a dayThat’s on conservative side loss of fuel assuming only working days is  Rs 1,62,36,00,000 Per year only for the WEH. Now its any ones guess what happens on the other corridors like JVLR, SV Road, LBS Marg or Eastern Express Highway or other traffic zones of Mumbai.
As an alternate to all this trouble, Mumbaikars were shown a dream. The dream of zipping across the city on elevated tracks free of pollution & stress.

Mumbai Metro Project! 

Have you ever thought, what Mumbai Metro has given us till now?
Huge delays, unprecedented cost escalation & the worst of all substandard coaches!

The Mumbai Metro Project, an ambitious 15 year project that began in 2006 and was supposed to be completed in 2021 in 3 phases, namely

1.      Phase 1: 2006-2011
2.      Phase 2: 2011-2016
3.      Phase 3: 2016-2021

And where are we today?

The first phase that too only Line 1 between Versova to Ghatkoper opened in June 2014, a whopping 2 years behind schedule.

Work on Phase 2 that was to begin in 2012 is mired in controversies and the project is yet to begin…

Did you know that 6 out of a total of 7 bidders opted out of the financial bid stage for metro line 2 under the cities the mega infrastructure project, the Mumbai Metro?
Well I didn’t, till I delved more into the broken promises and additional nightmares of just launched metro 1.  
In the prequalification round for the metro 2 project, which was supposed to be was originally Colaba-Bandra-Charkop was revised first time to Mankhurd-Bandra-Charkop and again revised to Mankhurd- Bandra-Charkop-Dahisar line. , There were 7 bidders shortlisted, namely.

1.     Reliance Industries Ltd-(Mukesh Ambani Group)– Siemens– Gammon India Ltd (JV)
2.     GVK Group – Bombardier Inc. -YTL(JV)
3.     Tata Power Co. Ltd – Mitsubishi Corp – Tata Realty’s Pioneer Infrastructure(JV)
4.     GE India – Larsen & Toubro Ltd  - CA – IDPL (JV)
5.     IL&FS – Punj Llyod Ltd – Soma Constructions JV)
6.     Essar – Alstom (JV)
7.     Reliance Infrastructure Ltd. - SNC Lavalin Group Canada-Reliance Infocomm Ltd (3 party JV) 2 parties namely Reliance Infrastructure Ltd and Reliance Infocomm Ltd belong to Anil Ambani Group

Under the normal bidding process, bidders have to submit their technical bid first and then financial bid. All the 7 business groups submitted their technical bids. Financial bids were called for with the first date of bidding being 16th Dec '08. It was extended 3 times to Jan '09, Feb '09 and Mar '09.

Surprisingly at the Financial Bidding stage, 6 bidders opted out of financial bid, and only the 7th bidder submitting their financial bid.

I have a few questions that I have found no answers yet!

1.     What was the compelling reason for all 6 bidders to opt out of financial bid?
2.     Was the project cost estimate by MMRDA too low, since many bidders seemed to have voiced their concern?
3.     Was the 7th bidder privy or part of some conspiracy to compel competition out with the insider help of MMRDA or political bosses?
4.     Or was it a corporate cartelisation amongst the 7 bidders?
5.     Or whether instructions from political bosses were given to other bidders to opt out?

The 7th Bidder (only bidder) Rinfra submits bid amount of Rs 2298 crore which is the capital grant it requires from Central Govt and State Govt, which is much less than 40% of 7660 crore i.e. 3064 crores that it is entitled to receive as the qualifying criterion.

Here I have a few questions.

First of all, under the normal process, the bidding process is cancelled and calls for fresh bids are made in case of sole bidder. Why did the Executive Committee of MMRDA headed by the Hon. Chief Minister of Maharashtra not follow the normal process and awarded to the sole bidder i.e. R-infra? What was the logic, rationale, hurry to hand the project out to the R-infra out of the process?

Shri Ashok Chavan was the Chief Minister during the bidding & selection process i.e. between 8-Dec-2008 to 9-Nov-2010 . Please note the work order for Metro 1 was given on 21-Jan-2008 when late Shri Vilasrao Deshmukh was the Chief Minister. Do we smell some collusion between the ones in power & the sole bidder?

R- infra signs Concession Agreement for Mumbai Metro 2 on 21st Jan 2010. R- infra also signs contract agreement for Worli Haji Sea link on 13th Jan 2011,receives MoEF (Ministry of Environment and Forest) clearance in Mar 2011 and is expected to complete the project by June 2014.

Here I fail to understand what superhuman credentials or delivery  experience does R-infra has to be awarded 3 mega projects back to back, Metro 1 on 21st Jan 2008, Metro 2 on 21st Jan 2010 and Worli Haji Sea Link on 13th Jan 2011?

Well, there’s more to it!
None other than the father of metro projects in India, Dr. E Sreedharan in his written advice to MMRDA had stated that construction of Metro Line 2 from Charkop - Colaba was feasible and viable rather than Charkop - Bandra - Mankhurd.
Why the pioneer of the system who delivered successful metro train system in Delhi, was not heard by the MMRDA?

What was the benefit of changing the alignment completely from Colaba-Bandra-Charkop to Mankhurd-Bandra-Charkop?

Dr. E Sreedharan had also categorically opined against PPP/BOT model for metro projects in India and specifically Mumbai, but that too was completely overruled by the then Union Minister for Urban Development Shri Kamal Nath?

As a Mumbaikar I am lost in traffic. Because I was promised 62 kms of Metro and I have just got 11kms today….my life remains the same.

Despite overruling expert advice, out of the process selection of bidder, the reality is that the metro line 2 has still not taken off!
There was inauguration ceremony done by none other than the then Hon. President of India Smt Pratibha Patil. But the project has not started after wasting crores in feasibility study, selection of bidder & allocation of funds to the bidder!

And after 3 years since signing of agreement the Hon. Chief Minister of Maharashtra goes on record to state that future metro projects would not be on BOT/PPP model. 

Do we smell of some kind of a stalemate in metro line 2 project?

The biggest question arises.
Who is responsible and accountable for this lackadaisical approach by various authorities and decision makers?

More than Rs.100crores spent on the preliminary work by MMTPL, Rs 150crores approximately in bank guarantees. What is making it worse is the never resolving tussle between MMRDA and R-infra ever since 2012 holding all the citizens to ransom. No action has been taken by the Govt of Maharashtra yet.

Information sources confirm that the MMRDA has written to the Hon CM of Maharashtra to terminate the contract. But no action has been taken so far by his office. News also confirms that all the sitting MPs of Mumbai had met the Hon CM of Maharashtra in Jan 2014, requesting him to terminate the contract of MMTPL and begin afresh. God alone knows when Mumbaikars will ever get to see the metro line 2. Will Mumbaikars really?

As a law abiding citizen and a sincere tax payer, should I be a mere spectator and continue spending 2-3 hours in traffic and lead such a stressful life.
Should I allow the country will loose crores of Rupees of fuel and lakhs of man-days ? Should I allow traffic to decide my days schedule and rule my life? 
Should I wait endlessly with a hope that things will change?
Do I really want my child to also suffer the same plight.

Who’s responsible for this mess?

A Mumbaikar who runs the whole day to make his living?

The political party, which is running the state?

The governmental agencies, which exist to make the city better?

Or the business houses who win the contracts to build the city’s transport system?

It’s time to ask questions! It’s time the government answers for the mess that they have created.

I have submitted a letter to The Metropolitan Commissioner of MMRDA at BKC , Mumbai on 28th July 2014 to seek answers to the questions raised above.

Please join and share your views, photos and experiences of the Mumbai life in traffic on social media with the hastag #MumbaiMetroMess




1 comment:

Lord Krishna said...

I have plans with existing Highways in Mumbai to change in to appropriate Flow I would Just require to Remove few Bridges and make Few fresh ( which can be done in very short span of time ) Mumbai Highways hold extra potential and within this infrastructure with slight changes I can pursue Overwhelming and Flawless Traffic Condition from Colaba to Dahisar .I may require to change certain Traffic Police rules and condition * Further Under Working circumstances We can beautify MUMBAI Like Heaven It just need Administration to Work. Lets Not Crib on What happened "LETS DO THE CHANGE ,WE NEED TO MAKE IT BEST "