Monday, July 21, 2014

Traffic: The fulcrum of a Mumbaikar’s Quality of Life

Mumbai is a city famous for the fact that it never sleeps. But today we can say so because an average Mumbaikar spends long hours ranging from 3 to 5 hours of daily quality life on the road travelling to workplace and back.
The financial capital of the country has got a deal that’s nothing but RAW when it comes to the governance working on its lifeline – Traffic!

In the past 60 years the vehicle load has increased by 3700%,
while the road length by a mere 250%.

The figures speak volumes about the nightmare a Mumbaikar goes through everyday getting to office and then trying to get back home.
The question arises, has there nothing been done to ease this? Well, on paper there have been many schemes targeted to this cause. The latest one being Mumbai Metro 1 and Metro 2 in the pipeline.

Many such ambitious projects are in the pipeline, a few to name are…

1. Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL)
2. Passenger Water Transport Project West Coast & East Coast
3. Versova Bandra Sea Link (VBSL)
4. Multimodal Corridor from Virar to Alibag

Many authorities work towards this cause, with layer upon layer of bureaucracy being created over the years. To find which authority is responsible for a project is like peeling an onion, which leaves nothing but tears in one’s eyes. The list of authorities is endless like Government of Maharashtra , MMRDA and MCGM to quote a few.

They talk a lot about the efforts they continuously keep putting in with no apparent output. One tends to wonder, if their efforts are only for PROJECTION and not for IMPACT on a citizen’s life?


One recent burning example is that of the Mumbai Metro I. Launched with great fanfare, flopped with the first shower itself; was it really for the citizen, or launched only to be claimed as a milestone in October elections? A project that was supposed to take 3-4 years took approximately 6 years to complete!
Thousands of Crores of Taxpayer’s money is going down the drain, and into the pockets of a corrupt few. The way the process of Metro II project is going on, it is clearly headed for disaster from an economic and efficiency point-of-view.

Let us take a look at 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…
Phase 1 is half cooked, and the way Metro 2 is being handled raises many uncomfortable questions as below.

a.      In Phase 1 – Line1- Only 11 KM opened (out of the planned 62kms ) after 2 years delay and double cost over-run? Who is accountable? The cost at 2012 prices was INR 2356 crores which escalated to INR 4321 crores.

b.      The plan of Phase 1 –Line 2 which was originally Colaba-Bandra-Charkop was revised first time to Mankhurd-Bandra-Charkop and again revised to Mankhurd- Bandra-Charkop-Dahisar line. This project shows cost escalation from INR. 7660 crores in 2012  to INR. 28900 crores as of today in 2014 and that too on the drawing board. Escalation of four times during this period.

This raises a few questions which I can’t hold myself from asking.
·        What is the legitimacy of the first feasibility study?
·        Who has approved this amount of massive escalation?
·        Why was such a huge project being awarded to a sole bidder?
·        Does this sole bidder have a compelling experience base to justify this move?
·        Why did the other bidders drop out in the financial bid stage?

The whole episode reeks of Corporate Collusion”. The State Government of the day seems to have forgotten that the citizen is the true master to be served.
The inaction of the current governance by State Government has been affecting the Mumbaikar’ s daily life; he spends 3-5 hours i.e. 180 – 300 minutes every day travelling to and from workplace, when by global standards this should not take more than 80-90 minutes a day. This travel is at snails speed and also in dangerous travel conditions due to overcrowding of public transport and railways. This leads to 3D’s-Diseases, Death and Disputes leading to Divorce.

It is unfortunate that in face of blatant failures like Metro 1. There is NO ACTION.

Was it a system failure or is Someone Responsible.

As a citizen want to know WHO IS RESPONSIBLE for this quality of life I am forced to live in Mumbai.

The delays and cost escalations have already resulted in Lakhs of Crores of productivity loss, Thousands of Crores of fuel overspend and Hundreds of Crores of Forex lost to the exchequer.
New York has 50 Lakh vehicles, Beijing has 20 lakhs and we all know the infrastructure they have to support the citizens while managing such vehicular load.

The number of vehicles in Mumbai is expected to reach 75 Lacs by 2024 – we have seen what has happened in the last ten years, this governance has clearly failed to deliver at every level.

It’s time for people to vote for a government that can and has the intent to create the required infrastructure.
I fear Mumbaikars have now started reconciling to these travel conditions as a part of life. It’s time for Mumbai to Start Living and Stop Existing.

Time for the Mumbaikar to vote for a Better Life and question the authorities.

To join the cause tweet out with below #MumbaiMetroMess


JIJU said...

Dear Vinit jee,
In my opinion the first step of human resource development is from schools. Now is a time to to think our education culture is enough to make a good human, we are blindly following British education culture, but in western countries they left that culture and they adopted our Similar to Gurukula(i.e. knowing the inborn taste of a person and develop it). In my reading China also following taste oriented education. This is one reason of backwardness

Anil Maheshwari said...

Vinit ,
I remember MTHL Project is in doll drum for last around 40 years , Inland waterways too for several decades ...Govts presumed their bapoti and CMS /Ministers/MLAs assumed themselves kings .Common Janta assumed all political leaders as devils...No purpose but looting and looting ...It appears we all citizens are slipping and become impotent....

You also belong to a political party but only because of trust in Modiji we believe in your party too.Entire country is having a great hope from Modi ....
Likho mat kuch kar ke dekhao and move with Janta for real seva ,,,all dreams of a strong infra nation still possible

arun said...

My views are the following.
It is not in the length of the roads we construct to enforce disciple. From this govt I like to see some standardization of road projects across india. We should take a leaf out of developed countries and not make mistakes.
My wish lists are the following.
1. Road markings should be standardized
2. Clear sign and signal standards across india or metros to start with eg Blue boards are used for motorways or highways in developed countries
3. Heavy fines for traffic violations
4. Speed signs at various points
5. A control center in all metros
6. Standard footpath / pedestrian / cycle access. Curbs on both side of the road should be standard
7. Standardize exits from highways to city
We need to review the policy guidelines for road construction projects and if we are able to clearly articulate the objectives of these construction projects we can achieve a lot

Apart from that we should enforce a nation wide centralization program for registering all vehicles. We should also enforce Motor on road test 6 monthly. We should enforce these without any corruption creeping in. We can then weed off vehicles not suitable to be run.

UP govt stard e-riskshaws powered by electricity. Again that failed because we did not have distribution points for charging the battery. What I mean is that we should think of everything before rolling out any program

I am doing what ever I can to educate my friends around to drive safely. I would like myself more involved in these projects in advisory capacity


Dinesh Bhanage Mumbai said...


Good day!

Before we talk of any projects and development, we must ask ourselves "ARE WE DISCIPLINED ???"

Truth is "NO" we are not disciplined.

If there isn't divider on the road, we shall cross the lanes. Jumping signals is fun and exceeding speed limit is adventure...There are such numerous examples to prove that we are not disciplined...... The reason is we have too many options / choices available at cheap cost / expense.

So how do we start:

....Best is Do not offer too many choices / options. HOW???

1) Erect Fence on Footpath so that pedestrian do not walk on the roads.
2) Create hawkers zone and move hawkers legally / illegally occupying the space to this zone.
3) Ensure that all Hawkers dealing in same products are moved to new hawkers zone. Buyers of such commodities will have NO OPTION to visit such place for purchases / services.
4) Increase width of the Foot path to at least 6ft. Not necessarily foot path should be on two sides of the road.
5) Mark Auto /taxi Stop Zones. One doesn't have to visit Hong Kong to see how same are created. One can visit City Gangtok in Sikkim and see how discipline is followed on narrow roads.
6) Educate commuters to catch Auto / Taxi from Stop Zone.
7) Erect Placards & Sign boards (in 4 Languages) for Auto Stand, Bus Stand & Stop Zones etc.
8) Deploy Social force asking commuters to catch Auto / taxi from Stand / Stop Zone.
9) Autos will have no option to ply Auto / Taxi on Auto Stand for ferry.
10) Public & Private participation is necessary in such projects. Participants must see monetary gains for faster implementation & execution of projects.
11) Financial Guarantee should be precondition for projects.

Start project from a densely populated Suburb.