How Amaravati can be a True Smart City

Amaravati, the upcoming capital of Andhra Pradesh, is touted to be a major game changer in Indian cities. While it will be the fourth major planned State Capital, after Bhubaneshwar, Chandigarh and Gandhinagar, it will be the first major Smart City in India as a State Capital.

The Capital Region Development Authority [CRDA] which is the planning authority for the upcoming city has planned to have 9 sub-cities of 6000 acres each and three metro rail corridors.

Among other plans, Amaravati is also poised to get a transparent, underwater tunnel through the River Krishna as well.

Now, all this sure sounds rosy on paper, but fancy stuff isn’t what we’re looking for right now. What we need is functionality. Here are some key pointers that I have decided to put across for Amaravati’s transport, which will help livability in the city massively.

Theoretical Stuff

Start a new unified transit body

Create a new entity from scratch for Amaravati’s transport. That’s right. A new entity, solely for transport within the Capital Region. It can be either a Municipal-run body like BEST, or a State-run body like MTC. However, this body should be a Unified body on the lines of Transport for London [TfL] or New York’s Metropolitan Transit Authority [MTA]. Let this authority or agency handle buses, trains, and also be a nodal point for autorickshaws/taxis. The Transco can also be jointly managed by all three levels of government. Road related works can remain under existing agencies like the Public Works Department or Andhra Pradesh Road Development Corporation

Keep out of existing Establishments

Amaravati must not rely on APSRTC or Indian Railways for its Transport. Buses in Hyderabad were earlier run by the APSRTC, and now by the TSRTC. Rail transit for the new city must be independent of Indian Railways, to prevent congestion and avoid red-tapism on the network like on the Mumbai Suburban Railway. MSRTC operates inter-city buses in Mumbai. BEST operates intra-city services. The other transcos [NMMT, TMT, MBMT, et al] handle services between the different jurisdictions within the MMR. Amaravti might be made up of multiple Municipal bodies for Vijayawada, Guntur and the upcoming city, but transport within these regions must be kept for a single entity that exclusively serves it.

Practical Stuff

Underground Metro Corridors

Since the entire city is being built from scratch, the entire Metro corridor needs to be built underground. This will help keep the city aesthetically appealing. If elevated corridors are built, they should use the 25m segment like what Mumbai Metro 1 and incorporate the cantilever station design of the Hyderabad Metro.

Bus Rapid Transit Systems

Marechal Floriano BRT station, Linha Verde (Green Line), Curitiba RIT, Brazil.
Marechal Floriano BRT station, Linha Verde (Green Line), Curitiba RIT, Brazil. Image copyright Mario Roberto Duran Ortiz, CC-BY-SA 3.0 Unported, available on the Wikimedia Commons.

Amaravti has the potential to make Bus Rapid Transit Systems [BRTS] work more efficiently than other cities including Ahmedabad and Surat. It can implement them on a large scale as a feeder system to the aforementioned Metro systems. Again, since the city is being built from scratch, bus lanes can be made signal free, making them truly rapid. Trolleybuses, or even trams can be run to make it more eco-friendly.

Smart Buses

The new Transco that was spoken about earlier needs to make itself ready for the year it was built for and not the 1950s. All buses need to be fitted with a Passenger Information System [PIS], as well as a system to allow the visually-impaired know the route number and destination of the bus. Let the bus be traceable using GPS, develop a smartphone app as well as a website for commuters to be able to use. Use GPRS-enabled always online ETMs similar to what the cluster buses of Delhi use, except ensure that they use Smart Cards for passes and prepaid payment systems like what BEST has achieved in Mumbai. Ensure that the fleet is an even mix of AC and non AC buses, if getting a fully-AC fleet is not possible. Additionally, encourage corporate bodies to take up bus clusters similar to Delhi on a Public-Private partnership.

Cycle-Friendliness

Amaravati must ensure that roads are built with proper cycle lanes that are separated from pedestrian lanes and motorised traffic. Encourage the usage of cycles, and incentivise riding them. Public cycles should be introduced. Use a smart card for parking spaces and renting cycles.

Accessibility

Bicycle lane and a pedestrians' path in Tsurumi, Yokohama, Japan.
Bicycle lane and a pedestrians’ path in Tsurumi, Yokohama, Japan. Image copyright Meme-Meme, CC-BY-SA 3.0 Unported, available on the Wikimedia Commons.

All roads must feature properly laid and leveled pedestrian walkways as well as ramps for the differently-abled. With the Prime Minister stressing on the word Divyang for differently-abled people, it is imperative that this is taken up seriously. Traffic signals must be fitted with audio devices to let visually-impaired people know that they can cross the road. Bus stops should feature Braille signage and pavements should feature a tactile path similar to the one in Metro stations.

Smart Design and Technology

Solar Panels at HUDA City Centre Parking Lot.
Solar Panels at HUDA City Centre Parking Lot. Image copyright Srikanth Ramakrishan, CC-BY-SA 4.0 International, available on the Wikimedia Commons.

All roads must be designed with ducts for cables, pipelines, and other channels to prevent them from being dug up very often. This is similar to what is done in Mumbai and Bangalore [the latter thru TenderSURE]. Roads should be laid using plastic waste to recycle the waste as well as make the road long lasting. Electric cables should be underground to prevent accidents. Traffic signals, bus stops, footbridges, parking lots, benches, should be fitted with CCTV cameras for safety and security, as well as fitted with solar panels to generate power as well as provide shade.

Common Payment instrument

A super crucial point, a Common Payment Instrument must be instituted across the city. A single smart card should be used for Metro, Buses, BRTS, Cycles, etc. This model is followed abroad in many places. Like several cities abroad, NFC-enabled smartphones can be used as a payment mechanism. As stated earlier for buses, an App could be developed for buses, trains, availability of cycles and payments. Keep it simple silly!

TAXIS and autos

Autos, while seen as a burden on the roads by many, are very crucial. Electric Rickshaws can be mandated to keep the air clean. Similarly, permits should be issued for regular taxis, similar to the Cool Cabs and regular Kaali-Peelis of Mumbai. However, these auto and taxi drivers must be given a loan to purchase a GPS-enabled Fare Meter that can support RFID/NFC payments so that people can use the aforementioned smart cards and phone payment methods. The Transport Department, City Administration and Traffic Police must strictly enforce this however.

Water Transport

Sitting on the banks of the Krishna river, Amaravati can make use of this natural resource. A network of channels can also be built across the city, with boats, similar to Allepy.

 

Overall, the future of Amaravati seems to be quite bright, with Chandrababu Naidu as the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh. I just hope some of these suggestions are taken seriously.

Do share this post. Tweet it out and use the hashtags #SunriseAndhra and #SmartCity so that it can reach the government.

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Delhi and its Bus Melee

Delhi -The National Capital Territory of India, has a serious problem with buses.
Before getting into details, let us just list out modes of transport within the city.

  • Delhi Suburban Railway: EMUs and MEMUs connecting Delhi to nearby cities such as Ghaziabad, Faridabad and Gurgaon.
  • Delhi Ring Railway: A 35km long railway running parallel to Ring Road, with 7 services clockwise and 7 anticlockwise with a peak hour frequency of 60-90 minutes.
  • Delhi Metro: A 213km long Rapid Transit system consisting of a mix of Underground, Elevated and At Grade tracks and stations.
  • Buses: Buses, like every other city in India.
  • Auto rickshaws: Autorickshaws with GPS-enabled Meters who rarely charge by the fare meter.

Now, coming to Buses.

Delhi has three kinds of buses that operate on its street, all by different operators. Yes. Three of them.

  • DTC Buses
  • Cluster Buses
  • Metro Feeder Buses

DTC Buses

A DTC Ashok Leyland AC Bus.
A DTC Ashok Leyland AC Bus. Image copyright Srikanth Ramakrishnan, CC-BY-SA 4.0 International, available on the Wikimedia Commons.

The DTC operates two distinct services in the city. Green coloured non-AC buses and Maroon coloured AC buses. Barring a few old buses which are pre-2000 buses, all the buses are low-floor, rear-engined CNG buses. Buses are either Ashok Leyland or Tata Marcopolo models, in both variants. Daily Passes for both regular and AC services are sold on board the bus like most other cities. Monthly passes are available at 30+ odd centres across the NCT. Barring the Jheel centre, all are computerised. Passes are supremely cheap, with the non AC pass costing ₹800 and AC pass costing ₹1000 a month. Minimum fares are ₹5 for the Green bus and ₹10 for the Maroon counterparts. Similar to what Western and Central Railways did in the Mumbai Suburban Railway and what PMPML did in Pune, fare stages are in increments of ₹5. The highest fare in a non AC bus is ₹15!

Feeder Buses

Delhi Metro Feeder Bus
Delhi Metro Feeder Bus. Image copyright Srikanth Ramakrishnan, CC-BY-SA 4.0, available on the Wikimedia Commons.

Operated by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation [DMRC], these are minibuses with the aim of linking Metro stations to localities around them. The funny part is that similar to Bangalore’s Metro Feeder buses, they travel long distances too. For example, at Saket Station, you can see Feeder buses going upto Badarpur. They follow the same fare structure of the regular DTC bus.

Cluster Buses

A DIMTS Cluster Bus.
A DIMTS Cluster Bus. Image copyright Srikanth Ramakrishnan, CC-BY-SA 4.0, available on the Wikimedia Commons.

And now, for the long part of this article. Cluster Buses. The orange-coloured buses in Delhi, were introduced in 2011 to compensate for the shortage of buses since the Blueline fleet had been eliminated. Delhi’s buses have always had a huge percentage of private players in it, and with the cluster buses, they have been corporatised with under the Banner of Delhi Transit, run by the Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System Ltd. [DIMTS]. These buses use the same fare stages as the regular DTC buses, except that Daily Passes are not valid on them, and tickets are issued digitally.

Now how does the Cluster Service pan out?

Delhi has always had a mix of private and public buses on its streets.

A Blue Line bus in Delhi.
A Blue Line bus in Delhi. Image copyright stevekc, CC-BY-SA 2.0, available on the Wikimedia Commons.

Till 2010-2011, the private sector was composed of Licenced Stage Carriers, known as Blue Line buses. They were individual buses, operating under no fixed rules, and thus could take any route they wished to. This caused a major issue, since most operators chose only the profitable routes and in order to maximise profits, overloaded the buses as well as drove negligently to make more trips. This often put passengers at risk, and on an average, 100 people died in a year, both inside and outside the bus. In 2008-2010, the then Sheila Dikshit-led government decided to discontinue these buses in favour of the new Corporatisation scheme. Accordingly, permits to operate these buses were withdrawn and new permits were no longer issued. In 2011, the first set of Cluster Buses were launched.

So, what formed the basis for these Cluster Buses and why are they called so?

The DIMTS, a joint venture of the Government of NCT Delhi [GNCTD] and the IDFC Foundation, did a analysis of the 650-odd bus routes in Delhi and grouped them into 17 clusters. A list of the clusters as well their constituent bus routes is available on the GNCTD website. Within these clusters, 40% of the buses were to be run by DTC and the remaining 60% by DIMTS. DIMTS, meanwhile is just a Government Body, which among other things, maintains GPS data of every auto-rickshaw in the NCT, which is fitted with a GPS-enabled Fare Meter. The buses themselves are operated by Private Parties. Unlike the erstwhile Blue Lines, they are operated by large corporate bodies. Cluster buses today form the 60% Private share in the 17 clusters, though Private Stage Carriers with the Blue Line livery are slowly making a come back under the current government.

Each Cluster Bus is GPS-enabled with the position being relayed to the Public Information Website [http://businfo.dimts.in/businfo/] which shows the ETA of the buses, similar to what BEST does. Touch-screen Verifone Ticket Machines are utilised on these buses. Since there are only 3 fare stages, the driver only has to press the fare, ₹5, ₹10 or ₹15, and the location is automatically picked up via GPS. Similar to BEST, data is automatically sent to the server, thus eliminating a lot of issues.

A DIMTS Cluster Bus Ticket Machine.
A DIMTS Cluster Bus Ticket Machine. Image copyright Srikanth Ramakrishnan, CC-BY-SA 4.0, available on the Wikimedia Commons.

So what exactly is the issue here?

Now, there are several issues here, with all the buses in question:

  • Fares: Fares in Delhi are too low. With a minimum fare of ₹10 on AC services and fare stages of ₹5, ₹10 and ₹15 only in non AC services, fares are too cheap for both DTC and private operators to sustain themselves, even with low taxes and cheap CNG. It costs ₹15 in a bus from Okhla to Old Delhi Railway Station. The same journey costs ₹19 in a Metro from Okhla to Chandni Chowk. The only city where a bus ride is cheaper than a train.
  • ETMs: The Orange Faeries have GPS-based ETMs that instantly transmit data but have no purpose other than these two. BEST ETMs can sell passes and validate them. There should be a plan to sell Daily Passes with these machines and validate prepaid cards.
  • Passes: Daily Passes, even of AC buses are not valid on DIMTS buses, which form 3/5 of the buses on the road. They are also not valid on Feeder buses.
  • Feeder buses: Since the feeder buses are out on a contract basis with private carriers, they end up acting like Blueline minibuses.
  • Delhi BRTS: The Delhi BRTS is another case of Bus Lanes masquerading as as BRTS. It is similar to the original Swargate-Katraj BRT line in Pune. All sorts of vehicles enter bus lanes, there are no barricades at some place, bus stops are confusing. The funny part of the BRTS is that there are two layers of bus stops, parallel to each other at a junction, resulting in a mini pile-up.

Overall, Delhi’s transport system leaves a lot of space for improvement. DTC also operates buses to neighbouring cities in the NCR, such as NOIDA and Gurgaon. Passes are not valid on these buses. DIMTS doesn’t cross the border. All buses going away from Delhi terminate at the border. DTC also operates a shuttle bus service between Terminal 3 and 1 at the Indira Gandhi International Airport, as well buses to Lahore, Pakistan and Kathmandu, Nepal.

Delhi’s bus problem is that buses try to be direct competition to the Metro. Operations need to be streamlined into a single integrated system, along with some fare hikes to make it sustainable.

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Shooting a Bullet from Mumbai to Ahmedabad

The Bullet train is an often talked about thing these days, for good reasons too.

Officially known in Japan as the Shinkansen, meaning “New Trunk Line”, the Bullet Train got this name because of the shape of the train which initially resembled that of a bullet.

The original Shinkansen 0 Series 'Bullet Train' in 1967.
The original Shinkansen 0 Series ‘Bullet Train’ in 1967. Image copyright Roger Wollstadt, CC-BY-SA 2.0 Generic, available on the Wikimedia Commons

Of course, there are many detractors, all with pointless reasons to oppose the project. Some say it is financially nonviable, some say that it is redundant in the age of air travel, some say it will be expensive to travel on.

Let’s just go thru the Shinkansen that operates in Japan, and compare it with India.

Proposals for high speed rail had been going on since the 1930s. Prior to the Shinkansen, Japan’s rail system consisted of 1067mm Narrow Gauge railway lines which took roundabout routes due to difficult terrain. In 1957, the 3000 Series SE Romancecar, capable of attaining a record breaking high speed of 145km/hr for  Narrow Gauge was introduced. Banking on the success of an NG train achieving such speeds, Japan decided to build a High Speed Rail system that would run on a 1435mm Standard Gauge track.

With Government sanctions secured in the end of 1958, Construction began at the end of the first quarter of the following year [April 1959]. The cost then was estimated to be ¥200billion, which came in the form of Government loans, Railway Bonds, and a low-interest World Bank loan of $80million. The 550km line from Tokyo to Osaka was thrown open in October 1964 for the General Public, just before the Tokyo Olympics. The existing Limited Express train covered the distance in 6hours and 40 mins. At 210 km/hr, the Shinkansen took four hours for the same, a journey which then took 3hours by 1965 thanks to increased speeds. Today, the line is capable of handling a high speed of 285km/hr, thereby reducing the journey time between the two cities to 2hours and 22minutes!

The fare from Tokyo to Shin-Osaka is ¥14,104 for adults on the Hikari and Kodoma services, and ¥14,450 on the faster Nozomi service. This translates to roughly ₹7715 and ₹7,911 respectively which works out to an average of 25 yen per kilometre, or 14 rupees per kilometre.

Now what does the Shinkansen have that makes it so fast?

Route

All Shinkansen tracks, while at grade for most part, do not have any crossings with roads. They are completely grade separated, have tunnels and bridges thru obstacles and rough terrain, and are cut off from the regular tracks. This means, that slow trains, freight trains, all have no impact on the Shinkansen. This would make it a super win-win situation in Mumbai itself because of the severe congestion on the Western Railway network.

Track

Shinkansen track at Toyohashi station.
Shinkansen track at Toyohashi station. Image copyright Tennen-Gas, CC-BY-SA 3.0 Unported, available on the Wikimedia Commons.

Shinkansen tracks are 1435mm wide in comparison to the Japanese Narrow Gauge of 1067mm. India traditionally uses 1676mm Broad Gauge on Indian Railways. Metre Gauge tracks of 1000mm width are slowly being phased out in favour of Broad Gauge, also known as Indian Gauge. Line 1 of the Kolkata Metro and the Red, Yellow and Blue Lines of the Delhi Metro are rapid transit systems in India that run on Broad Gauge, while all other Rapid Transit Systems use the 1435mm Standard Gauge. The Shinkansen network uses a combination of both ballasted as well as ballastless tracks, with the latter being used in sections such as viaducts and tunnels.

Signalling

Automatic Signalling is used. All operations are automated at a Central Control Room, eliminating trackside signals that are used conventionally. As of now, advanced signalling is only used on Metro corridors in India.

Traction

The Shinkansen operates on a 25kiloVolt Alternating Current system of electrification. This is the same as Indian Railways and most Metro Railway projects, thus making it the simplest of Shinkansen features to implement in India.

Trains

All trains are Electrical Multiple Units [EMUs]. They are lightweight and air-sealed for greater speeds and stability. All axles are powered in the train, enabling higher acceleration and lesser time wastage during stoppages.

 JR East Shinkansen Lineup at Niigata.
JR East Shinkansen Lineup at Niigata. Image copyright Rsa, CC-BY-SA 3.0 Unported, available on the Wikimedia Commons.

Now, coming back to India

Mumbai is situated at an altitude of 14m above mean sea level, while Ahmedabad is located at 54m. Between the two cities, there is no rough terrain, but a simple incline. Rivers on this route include the Ulhas River, the Narmada, the Tapi, the Mahi and the Sabarmati. Major cities on the route, not counting the fact that the Southern termini is the Financial Capital of India, include Surat, India’s Diamond Hub and Vadodara.

The distance between Mumbai Central and Ahmedabad Junction is 493km, and presently takes 6 hours 25 minutes at a cost of ₹1000 for an AC chair car and ₹1900 in an AC Executive Chair Car in the fastest train on the route – The Shatabdi Express. Between Mumbai Central and Borivali, it runs slower than a Fast Local, taking 29 minutes for the journey, while a local takes 27 minutes, mainly due to congestion on the network. There are around 70 trains on this route at present. The High-Speed Rail corridor will be 508km long and will feature a 21km undersea tunnel North of the Thane Creek towards Virar before coming back up and continuing elevated.

The impact of this line is something most detractors fail to see. Critics say that the line is being favoured because the Prime Minister and Railway Minister hail from these two states.  What they forget is that Mumbai to Ahmedabad is among the highest density corridors of passenger transport in a day. Apart from this, this route is part of the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor. The Government must seriously consider the extension of this line from Mumbai to Pune as well, thus connecting the two most important cities of both Maharashtra and Gujarat.

Further, the feasibility study has recommended that fares along this route should be the 1.5 times First Class AC fares, which is approximately ₹2200 right now on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad Duronto Express. This is quite reasonable for the distance, given the time it achieves this in.

In comparison, taking Private Metro Lines into consideration; we see that the two most expensive lines are Mumbai Metro 1, which charges ₹45 for 11km, Rapid Metro Gurgaon, which charges a ₹20 flat fare for 5km. It is obvious that the High Speed Rail will cost less than most skeptics assume.

A study by IIM-Bangalore has come to the conclusion that in order to break even and prepay loans, the train would have to carry 88,000 to 118,000 passengers per day, at an approximate travel cost of ₹5 per km per passenger. This, with a little extra calculations, results in a single one way journey coming up to ~₹2600.

A while ago, Delhi Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal, the man who came up with the brilliant Odd-Even formula for Delhi, estimated that it would cost ₹75,000 for a one-way ticket for this journey, one which multiple people have tried to justify from an economic viewpoint on Quora. Both are wrong, for reasons known to all. For starters, Kejriwal is the CM of Delhi, not Maharashtra or Gujarat, where the line is to come up, nor is he the Railway Minister or an Economist. Two, the deal that Japan and India have agreed to is not what everyone is using for their calculations.

Japan is giving India a loan of ₹79,000crore at an interest rate of 0.1%, with India having to pay back this loan over a 50 year period with a 15 year moratorium prior to that. In common language, India starts paying the loan back 15 years after the loan period begins. This is cheaper than the Delhi Metro’s JICA loan. A propaganda article by Troll.in, sometimes masquerading as Scroll.in calls it a Wasteful Expenditure. Why? It fails to mention that the money will be spent over 7 years, and not one year as the article claims. As stated, haters will continue to hate, in spite this particular corridor having been sanctioned by the previous government.

Why not Conventional Rail?

The Bhopal Shatabdi Express, with LHB Coaches, is the fastest train in India with a top speed of 150km/hr.
The Bhopal Shatabdi Express, with LHB Coaches, is the fastest train in India with a top speed of 150km/hr. Image copyright Ayushrocks, Public Domain.

This is an often asked question. People ask, why not improve the existing rail network?

Simple, Japan is offering the loan for export of the Shinkansen ONLY. It will also transfer some Technology to us so that we can use it for future lines. This money cannot be used for any other purpose.

This does not meant that the Conventional Railway Network will take a backseat or be discontinued. It just means both will coexist. Like a Bus Transport company has Regular and AC services.

But then, why not Maglev?

Shanghai Maglev Train.
Shanghai Maglev Train. Image copyright JakeLM, CC-BY-SA 2.5 Generic, available on the Wikimedia Commons.

Another often asked question here is: Why not Magnetic Levitation aka Maglev, which offers speeds of upto 431km/hr against the Shinkansen high speed of 320km/hr?

China uses a Maglev in in Shanghai. The line is a completely elevated one connecting the city and its airport. In a Maglev, the tracks are designed in such a manner that the train glides over it. Thus, the entire system is automated and both the tracks and the train itself are run by Computers. The Shanghai Transrapid was built by many companies. The tracks were built by local Chinese firms, while the train itself is German, having been built by ThyssenKrupp and Siemens.

Cost of investment is high, as high or higher than the Shinkansen, but not at the same cost of the Shinkansen, keeping in mind the loan and the associated conditions.

The Bottom Line

The Bullet Train between Mumbai and Ahmedabad is crucial for the Nation. It would help in redrawing the lifestyle and work culture of India, as well as restructure Western India as a transport hub. The biggest beneficiary of this would be Diamond Merchants in Surat, and along with that, the Smart City projects of GIFT City, DREAM City, and the Dholera SEZ.

Other routes that should be considered:

  • Chennai – Bangalore – Mangalore
  • Chennai – Coimbatore – Cochin
  • Delhi -Gurgaon – Jaipur
  • Pune – Hyderabad – Vijaywada

Also Read: What The Mumbai-Ahmedabad Bullet Train Means For The Region on Swarajya.

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The BEST Parking Lot

So a few days after BEST announced its new bus to Imagica, it now has new plans to monetize its assets: BEST will now offer parking space for private vehicles at its Depots and Bus Stations.

BEST's Vikhroli Bus Depot
BEST’s Vikhroli Bus Depot. Image copyright Srikanth Ramakrishnan, CC-BY-SA 4.0 International, available on the Wikimedia Commons.

This is great news. During the day time, BEST depots are mostly idle with buses on the roads.

Three spaces, the Santacruz Depot, the NSCI Worli Terminus and the Bandra Reclamation Bus Station.

A very wise move. During the day, most buses of the Santacruz Depot are out on the roads, thus leaving it relatively empty and thus, BEST has done the right thing by monetising it. Similarly, Bandra Reclamation has four buses that enter the bus station: 1, 86, 212, 215, all of which terminate there. The area occupied by the Bus Station is vast though. Meanwhile at the NSCI terminal, only buses such as AS-2, AS-592, A74Express, A75Express, A7Express terminate or start here, that too at specific times in the morning and evening, thus keeping the area empty for most of the day.

Overnight parking is not an option as of now, as BEST uses both its Depots as well as Bus Stations to park buses at night. The maximum allowed time for parking is 12 hours. The rates, exclusive of service tax, are ₹200 for heavy vehicles, ₹150 for light vehicles, ₹75 for two-wheelers. This works out to an average of ₹17/hour, ₹13/hour and ₹7/hour respectively, which is quite cheap.

One hopes that BEST is soon able to monetise its largest assets, the land bank that it owns across the city in the form of 26 depots, and numerous bus stations. Earlier attempts at this included renting out unused land parcels at depots to developers. The two most prominent ones among them were the redevelopment of Seven Bungalows Bus Station where a shopping complex was built, similar to the Andheri Station (West) bus terminus, and the redevelopment of Kurla Depot after it was damaged in the 2005 floods to include a commercial complex.

Rates have not well known as of now, but will be updated, once they are up.

BEST has done a lot in the recent past to monetise its assets, from renting out buses to Diamond Traders in BKC, and Adlabs Imagica, to full body advertisements across all buses, to renting out spaces at depots. There is a Salon operating at Majas Depot.

This is a great move, and if BEST is motivated well enough, can help out in the long run in implementing the ‘Park-and-Ride’ concept in Mumbai city.

One does hope that BEST uses it’s Trimax Ticketing Machines to issue parking tickets.

Update

BEST has provided an official tariff on it’s website.

For Heavy Vehicles: ₹200/a day, or ₹5000/month for 12hrs.

For Light Vehicles: ₹150/day, or ₹4000/month for 12hrs.

For Two Wheelers: ₹75/day, or ₹2000/month for 12hrs.

Note: All rates are exclusive of Service Taxes.

 

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Mumbai – Drive, Design and Connect

Mumbai. Bombay. Bambai. The City that Never Sleeps. Maximum City. Or, as I like to call it, BEST City.

The city of Mumbai, along with its satellite townships of Thane, Navi Mumbai, Mira-Bhayander, Vasai-Virar, and Kalyan-Dombivali forms the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, which is India’s second largest urban agglomeration and largest conurbation in a single state in the country. Other major Metropolitan regions in the country include the Tricity area of the Union Territory of Chandigarh, Mohali in Punjab and Panchkula in Haryana, and the National Capital Region consisting of the National Capital Territory of Delhi, Gurgaon, Faridabad, NOIDA, Ghaziabad, etc. Neither of these two is in a single state unlike the MMR.

However, what makes the MMR unique is the variety that is present across one single state. Maharashtra, being the state with the most decentralised administration, doesn’t control the MMR as much as the local Municipal bodies do. Each Municipal Body controls Transport in its jurisdiction, along with other factors such as water supply, electricity supply etc.

So what maketh Mumbai #MadeOfGreat ???

Roads. Rail. Buses. Beaches. Add to it, we have India’s first open-to-sea Cable-stayed bridge and also are the proud starting point of India’s first Expressway.

So, now, let us go into the nitty-gritties of what makes Mumbai the most amazing city.

Drive

Western Express Highway, Mumbai.
Western Express Highway, Mumbai. Image copyright Nicholas, CC-BY-SA 3.0 Unported, available at Wikimedia Commons.

Mumbai offers some amazing roads for you to take out your Tata, Toyota, Maruti, and Mercedes. You have the Western Express Highway, Eastern Express Highway, Sion Panvel Highway for your car to stretch its tyres. If you want the scenic route, you have Marine Drive, the Worli Seaface, Bandra Worli Sea Link, Eastern Freeway, Palm Beach Marg, and more. Of course, you do have the Toll Plazas, but if you have a FASTag, you can zip thru with ease. If this wasn’t enough, the city is the only one in India to feature a Road tunnel WITHIN the city! Mumbai also happens to be the city with maximum disciplined traffic. You’ll see people drive neatly in lanes, and give preference to pedestrians. The city also has long Skywalks, mostly connecting Railway stations to other areas, allowing Pedestrians to walk without having to put up with traffic.

DESIGN

Mumbai is probably India’s ONLY Linear city. The core city is divided into two parts, the Island City also known as Town,  and the Suburbs, known as Greater Mumbai. Autos are prohibited in Town, which also houses some of Mumbai’s longest flyovers. Dr. Ambedkar Marg, the southern extension of the Eastern Express Highway features the 2.9km Lalbaugh flyover at Parel, which was built higher than most flyovers to allow the procession of the Lalbughcha Raja during Ganesh Chaturthi. The 2.4km long JJ Road flyover at Byculla was among the first in the country to use Noise barriers. The suburbs have the two main highways, along with SV Road, LBS Marg and numerous link roads such as the Jogeshwari Vikhroli Link Road, and the Santacruz Chembur Link Road, which features the city’s first Double Decker flyover.

Navi Mumbai, India’s most amazing planned city was built in the 1970s by the City and Industrial Development Corporation [CIDCO] to decongest Mumbai. It is a planned city, stretching from Airoli in the North to Panvel in the south. It was planned and designed by Charles Correa, and features some amazing railway stations. Vashi station has an IT Park above the tracks, CBD Belapur station has a helipad atop it, and Turbhe Railway station was designed by Hafeez Contractor.

Flyovers in Mumbai feature public paid parking lots below them, or house Traffic Police Stations. The Khodadad Circle flyover, at Dadar Tram Terminus houses a Bus terminus under it. MSRTC’s conductorless Shivneri buses to Pune leave from here.

Transport aside, Mumbai features a lot of amenities and interesting facilities for the humans residing there. It houses two cricket stadiums, Wankhede and Brabourne, a football stadium at Cooperage for all the future Messi’s, and a large Indoor stadium at the National Sports Club of India [NSCI].  It features numerous cultural establishments such as the Chhatrapati Shivaji Vastu Sangrahalay, Bhau Da Ji Lad Museum, Jehangir Art Gallery and National Centre for Performing Arts.

CONNECT

Mumbai is home to India’s densest railway network. Comprising 465km of suburban lines, it is spread out across 6 lines. The city has India’s oldest railway network, and the maximum number of Terminus Railway stations. 2342 daily services from 4am to 1am carry approximately 7.5million passengers in a Day! Each train consists of Second Class, First Class, Women’s Second and First class coaches. Mumbai has a combination of trains, some with 9 coaches, some with 12 and some with 15! Air conditioned coaches will be inducted by 2016. Mumbai is the head of two railway zones, Western and Central and houses India’s most magnificent railway terminus, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, which is a UNESCO World Heritage structure. It is also the only city that has two Rajdhani Expresses connecting it to Delhi.

 

Mumbai Suburban Railway
Mumbai Suburban Railway. Image copyright Integral Coach Factory, CC-BY-SA 3.0 Unported, available on Wikimedia Commons.

Mumbai has India’s oldest Public Transport system, in the form of BEST, which has been operational since 1873. It is right to say that Mumbai had Public Transport when the rest of India did not know what Transport meant. The BEST provides buses that connect to all other parts of the city and most of the metropolis. BEST is today, the only Transco apart from the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation that operates Double Decker buses, and makes use of the Bell Pull on all its non AC fleet. BEST is also the only transco to feature a single-door Volvo B7RLE.

BEST Bus No. 56 at Versova Yari Road Bus Station.
BEST Bus No. 56 at Versova Yari Road Bus Station. Image copyright Srikanth Ramakrishnan, CC-BY-SA 4.0 International, available on the Wikimedia Commons.

Mumbai also has India’s oldest airport at Juhu as well as the second largest airport in the country, that also has the current tallest Air Traffic Control tower. Again, the city had air transport when the rest of India wanted to know how planes fly. It was from here that JRD Tata first flew in 1932, four years after it opened.

Mumbai Airport as seen from above.
Mumbai Airport as seen from above. Image copyright Andrew Thomas, CC-BY-SA 2.0 Generic, available on the Wikimedia Commons.

India’s first expressway connecting Mumbai and Pune starts from Panvel, while the Eastern Freeway, and Sion Panvel Expressway offer great drives and greater escape routes in the city.

 

Tata Motors has signed up Lionel Messi as its brand ambassador and I think that is a great move!


Zonal War Winner WEST Zone

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The BEST way to Imagica

BEST recently announced that it would ply AC services to Imagica.

Yep, you heard that right. BEST, which has been incurring heavy losses for several years now, has decided it will ply AC buses to Imagica. Apart from this, BEST has managed to get Diamond Traders to sign a ₹80,000 agreement for bus services from Andheri to Seepz.

BEST is also looking at tying up with IPL to provide bus connectivity to stadiums during matches, something that BMTC has been doing for the past few years.

BEST also announced that they were in talks with Essel World to provide buses.

The bus to Imagica leaves from CST at 7am in the morning and costs ₹500 for a round trip. Tickets can be booked the previous night on Imagica’s website.

Now, the question is, what buses is BEST using? Since it is a weekend bus, they can probably use the Volvo on Sunday when AS-4 is not operational.

A BEST Volvo on Route AS-4 from Backbay Depot to Oshiwara Depot.
A BEST Volvo on Route AS-4 from Backbay Depot to Oshiwara Depot. Image copyright Srikanth Ramakrishnan, CC-BY-SA 4.0 International, available on the Wikimedia Commons.

Using them Purple Faeries on this route, would severely ruin BEST’s image as only a handful of them are good, mostly from the Oshiwara Depot.

A BEST Cerita running on route AS 461. Also known as them Mumbai Purple Faeries.
A BEST Cerita running on route AS 461. Image copyright Srikanth Ramakrishnan, licenced under CC-BY-SA 4.0, available on the Wikimedia Commons.

The BEST must not make the BMTC mistake however. BMTC rents out its newer Volvo buses to corporate bodies such as Manayata Embassy Business Park [MEPB] and the Outer Ring Road Companies Association [ORRCA] and leaves the older, much older KA-01-FA series Volvo buses for the public to use. This is a good opportunity for BEST to resurrect the pathetic image that the AC fleet today has earned and replace it with the Premium luxury one that MSRTC enjoys for itself. BEST must ensure that all six Volvo buses don’t go for corporate trips leaving us at the mercy of the Purple Faeries. The Volvo buses must continue running on AS-4 and be used on the Fort Pheri services instead of idling at Backbay Depot. Similarly, BEST can use the AC buses that arrive at Colaba Depot as AS-9 on similar ring routes in SoBo with a subsidised fare to make them lucrative. This is needed, to keep the fleet running.

All said and done, I’m now excited at the prospect of seeing a BEST bus on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway and hope to get to click a photograph soon.

Route and schedule

The BEST Bus to Imagica leaves CST at 7.15am. The following are it’s pickup points and their timings:

  1. Mumbai CST at 7.15am. [Bhatia Baug Bus Station]
  2. Bhendi Bazar at 7.25am. [Route No. 1 Bus Stop]
  3. Byculla Station at 7.35am. [Route No. 1 Bus Stop]
  4. Jai Hind Cinema at 7.45am. [Route No. 1 Bus Stop]
  5. Lalbaug at 7.50am. [Route No. 1 Bus Stop]
  6. Parel TT at 8.00am. [Route No. 1 Bus Stop]
  7. Dadar TT [Khodadad Circle] at 8.10am. [Route No. 1 Bus Stop]
  8. Maheshwari Udhyan at 8.15am. [Route No. 504 Bus Stop]

Arrival at Adlabs Imagica at 10.30am.

Tickets can be booked on the Adlabs Imagica Website.

Buses from Borivali are provided by Neeta Travels. Who knows, this might be BEST soon.

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Odd or Even? Why the Delhi plan is the dumbest thing ever!

So recently, the Delhi Government, announced that they were going to implement a new rule from January 1st 2016, which would allow vehicles with Odd and Even registrations to ply only on alternate days. Like the rest of the world, I think it is a dumb idea. The intention might be good, to reduce pollution, but the backlash this is going to have, is going to wreak havoc across not just the National Capital Territory, but also the National Capital Region.

Note: Many readers have complained that I have a bad perspective because I’m a Mumbaikar. Just to clarify, that in the period running up to the New Year and for the next two weeks, I was a resident of the National Capital Region, living in Gurgaon and traveling to Delhi every alternate day. I was subject to the Odd-Even Joomla for 12 out of 15 days.

Before, I go forward, I just want to remind you of two things:

  • This nonsensical proposal was planned for Mumbai by the AAP’s big brother Congress, over a decade ago. It got scrapped, and for a good reason.
  • This proposal apparently works well in China. People who support it forget one thing. China is not a Democracy.

Another point to add is that the aim of this whole system is to reduce pollution, not traffic on the roads. Using that as a metric to claim its success is not valid.

So, why would this be a problem?
Enforcement Issues

Enforcing this would be a major headache. With the exception of Gurgaon, the areas of the NCR surrounding Delhi, are contiguous territories. It is nearly impossible to distinguish between Ghaziabad, Faridabad, NOIDA and Delhi. Now, given that the Delhi Government, specifically the Delhi RTA, would have authority over only DL-registered vehicles, how will they stop other vehicles from plying? Delhi, by virtue of being a Union Territory, has lesser road taxes, so nobody would get a HR or UP registration to ply their vehicles. But how would they stop vehicles from other parts of the NCR from doing so? Especially since places like Faridabad and NOIDA don’t have that good public transport as Delhi!

Extra Load on Existing Infrastructure

This move will screw up the way people travel in Delhi. Delhiites love poking fun at Mumbaikars for the Suburban Rail, calling it smelly, overcrowded, and what not. There is a statement, “Darr ke aage Jeet Hai, aur Dadar ke aage Seat Hai”, which translates to “There is Victory ahead of Fear, and a Seat ahead of Dadar”. Atleast, the Suburban, by virtue of not being air-conditioned, has stale air being pumped out from inside the train. More importantly, we have Fast trains in Bombay. We don’t have to sit in a train from Churchgate to Virar stopping at every single station on its way. The Delhi Metro is worse than the Mumbai Suburban in terms of crowd. DMRCL often goofs up by running 6 car trains to Gurgaon and 4 car trains to Faridabad.

There is this video of officers pushing people into the train, where they are packed like sardines in a tin can so that the doors can close. I have seen people pushing each other inside and being stuffed in a similar manner in Gurgaon-bound trains. The Delhi public will not travel in the Ring Railway, thus making Metro the ONLY way to travel around for those who need to go long distances. The situation in the MMR cannot be compared because the MMR has multiple railway lines, one Metro line, plus one Monorail, plus the killer combination of BEST, TMT, NMMT. No matter how unethical NMMT and TMT are, they are far more efficient than the DTC and its new sibling the DIMTS. This will also push up the crowds in buses, which already crowded. Delhi buses are filthy cheap, and this makes it worse. With a reported 400 buses breaking down each day, this means that the government has to hire more buses, which is resulting in the steady comeback of Blueline buses.

EMERGENCY

What if I have an emergency, I need to get out of my house in a hurry? What if my office is in the other end of the city and I don’t a have a Metro line anywhere near me? What if someone in my house is sick and I need to take them to the Hospital? Rich or poor, I am not going to buy a new car. This move will also affect carpoolers. What if five people who carpool, rotating cars on a daily basis, all have Even-numbered registrations? What if all are Odd-numbered? Has this been considered? I don’t think so. This move will affect Cab aggregators like Ola and Uber massively.

Fake Number Plates

Back in 2005, the Central Government had amended Section 50(2)(d) of the Central Motor Vehicle Rules [CMVR] to mandate the implementation of High Security Number plates. This was later upheld by the Supreme Court of India in 2011. These plates had security features such as a Hologram, could NOT be tampered-with and had to be fixed by an officer of the RTO only. So far only a handful of states including Sikkim, Goa, Gujarat, have implemented it. Anyone can duplicate number plates and change it daily. This is going to give a new boost to these fake number plate manufacturers however.

Priorities

Noble or not, the Delhi government has got its priorities wrong. Massively.

If the state government is seriously interested in reducing air pollution, it needs to start coordinating with the Centre, and other States in the NCR to find a long term solution to tackle the issue. The NCT is super congested, and banning certain vehicles on certain days is going to compound the issue rather than solve the problem. Delhi’s AC buses are already pathetic, and this is going to render them useless. Better public transport, and better connectivity, is what will show results, filling pockets of autowallahs who don’t charge per the meter won’t. Further, the ban on Surge Pricing for Cab aggregators like Uber and Ola is worsening the situation, causing a lack of cabs in places that require them and letting the Auto mafia rule.

In 1989, Mexico City implemented a similar plan. The net result? People stopped using Public Transport. Yes, they stopped using public transport.

Exemptions

Recently, the Delhi government announced a few exemptions. Among them are:

  • All two wheelers
  • CNG Vehicles
  • Electric and Hybrid Vehicles
  • Women Drivers with a Male Child of Upto Age 12
  • President, Vice President, Prime Minister and Cabinet, Ministers of other States, except Delhi
  • Emergency Vehicles
  • Defence Vehicles
  • Vehicles of SPG Protectees
  • Those On the Way to a Hospital [With Proof]

Now these exemptions, are major loopholes. Two wheelers are exempt. Are they not polluting? Evidently, Kejriwal and team have never been to Pune or Bangalore. According to a recent IIT Kanpur report: 46% pollution is created by trucks in the city when it comes to both PM 10 and PM 2.5. Two-wheelers contribute to 33% of the pollution, 10% is contributed by four-wheelers. Buses contribute to 5% of the pollution, whereas 4% is done by light commercial vehicles, and the rest is the contribution of three-wheelers and other factors.

CNG Vehicles, which make up most of the Public Transport. So, again, not much difference, people an pay ₹50k, get a CNG conversion done and keep going. Further, what stops a CNG vehicle from driving on Petrol? Hybid and Electric is fine to a certain extent, but then we must remember, these vehicles are expensive, and thus, the rich car owners of South Delhi can rejoice. Again, what stops a Hybrid vehicle from switching to fuel? Women Drivers with a Male Child? What sort of rubbish is this? So every woman in the household will now drive with her kid next to her. Official, Emergency and Defence Vehicles fine. Those on the way to the hospital must furnish proof? So if a car is stopped, you can throw a fit at the officers feet and he’ll let you go?

Commissioner of Police Delhi, BS Bassi, stated that out of 85lakh vehicles, 70lakh were exempt. What kind of rule is this? Lawyers have also been exempted from this rule.

The proposed fine for this is ₹2000 for each offence. Well done GNCTD, Well Done. You have successfully ruined a decent city.

Claiming that it was a success, two hours after it was launched, on a long weekend, when schools were shut in the winter, has to be the most illogical statement without any scientific backing whatsoever.

Updates

On 27th January, the Central Pollution Control Board stated that:

Overall, it can be stated that while some reduction in air pollution is likely to happen due to odd-even scheme, a single factor or action cannot substantially reduce air pollution levels in Delhi. Therefore, a comprehensive set of actions following an integrated approach is required to make substantial improvement in air quality,”

CNG Sticker Scam

With Round 2 of the Odd-Even scheme announced in April, a new twist has emerged.

The GNCTD had mandated that in order to be exempt from the earlier Odd-Even mess, all CNG vehicles would require a CNG sticker. These holographic stickers would be available at Indraprastha Gas stations. However, it has now emerged that these stickers could either be fake or sold off to car owners who don’t have a CNG vehicle.

Journalist Rahul Kanwal of India Today had this to tweet out about it.

Complete con job. Every other car at ITO has a CNG sticker. When I ask if the driver can open the boot – he freaks. Aise koi fayda nahi!

 

IVRS Scam

Another point to be noted was the IVRS Scam. Originally posted by the Frustrated Indian, this scam basically involved fake figures to showcase the Odd-Even hoopla as a success.

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Chennai Floods: What do we learn?

Ten years ago, Mumbai was flooded. Rains wreaked havoc on the Financial Capital of India.

Today, ten years later, Chennai faces the same onslaught of water. It seems weird that at a time when farmers are committing suicide in Karnataka and Maharashtra, because of drought faced, people are dying in coastal Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh due to floods. Water, water, everywhere, but not a drop to drink. Water, water everywhere, every drop is out to kill me. In the last decade, Mumbai has shut down for atleast one day, every year, in June, July or August due to the rains. Chennai has experienced rains in two sets this winter. One was in November, and one, in December. I’m gonna treat these two as separate instances and then draw a conclusion between two two.

November

Rains struck Madras in November 2015. It was heavy, taking the city by shock [I refrain from using the word surprise here]. Nobody expected these kinds of rains. Around 180 people died, the Central Government sanctioned ₹900crore. Chennai Police officers and Chennai Corporation workers worked tirelessly, day-and-night to help ease the situation. Ola, offered boats to those stranded, while UrbanClap announced free pest-control and OYO Rooms offered rooms ar discounted rates to shelter those who were stranded. 200 people lost their lives in this tragic incident.

December

Rains struck Madras on 1st of December. This time, Nature, really came down on the city like hell. 200 people lost their lives. The Army, Navy, Air Force and National Disaster Response Force [NDRF] were deployed in no time. Water levels reached the first floor in several localities, the Adyar and Cooum were overflowing, indundating the Saidapet, while the Palar was inundating the East Coast Road near Kalpakkam. To help the issue, CMRL continued operations of the Chennai Metro throughout the night. Madras Christian College, SRM University, Sathyam Cinema, Forum Mall Velacheri, among others offered shelter to those stranded. People were offering shelter and publicly posted this along with their phone numbers on Twitter and Facebook. The good folks at Twitter India were busy retweeting people who added #ChennaiRains to their tweets. Some good Samaritans like Harshita Murali, compiled a list of whom people could get in touch with if they were in Trouble. My friend and fellow OpenStreetMaps geek Arun Ganesh came up with a Crowd-Sourced Map that enabled people to report which areas were flooded, in order to help coordinate rescue and relief efforts. One Hotelier even offered rooms outside of Madras on a Pay-for-Food basis.

Observations
Media

As always, our national media hasn’t bothered. They’re more bothered about ‘Intolerance’. They’ll cover Paris, but not Madras. As I had stated earlier; for our media:

  • Floods in Madras, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Coastal Andhra Pradesh: Don’t care, South India isn’t important.
  • Floods in Bombay: Failure of BJP and Shiv Sena in the MCGM.
  • Floods in an NDA state: Corruption.
  • Floods in a non NDA state: Nature’s Fury.
  • Floods in Delhi: National Calamity.

Of course, the media did eventually cover it, but it was pathetic. The Hindu tried to pass off pictures of a 2013 deluge inside Delhi Airport as Chennai Airport while CNN-IBN reportedly abused the #ChennaiRainsHelp hashtag with their spammy news.

NDTV went a level higher stating that Chennai Airport is doomed to suffer because its runway is built on a river. I don’t know where these retards and morons studied English and Journalism from, because the runway is not ON a river, but a bridge built OVER the Adayar river. Chennai is not the only city in the world to have done this. The taxiway at Mumbai Airport was extended across the Mithi river in the form of a bridge too. This is common abroad as well.

Social Media

Like always, Social Media has always been the most useful. Chennaiites, have helped each other by offering shelter, food, and what not. People are sharing addresses and phone numbers on email to hep each other find shelter and get help.

Government

At the state level, Police, Fire and Municipal officers are doing their level best to coordinate rescue efforts. MTC and CMRL are running services as much as possible. At the central level, the Armed Forces and NDRF have been deployed. Indian Railways has offered all possible help as well. BSNL is offering free local and STD calls, free SMS, additional 100mb free data for Mobile and Landline users, Rent Rebate for 7 days and an extension of billing cycles by a fortnight. The Central government is doing a lot, Karnataka donated ₹5crore, which TN rejected. Apparently AIADMK workers are now stopping relief material entering to stick Amma stickers on them.

Others

Ola, OYO, and other private companies have shown their humanitarian side, while Sathyam Cinemas, Forum Mall, SRM University et al have opened their doors for the stranded. Zomato is offering food packets as well.

Skeptics

I read about a week ago, about a person who was criticising Ola and Uber, calling the Ola boats a publicity stunt. He claimed that if Ola and Uber had operated services during the floods people would not be stranded. He also stated that MTC drivers, should be thanked for continuing thru the downpour. I believe this is a bit harsh. If it rains, smaller cars would would get inundated. Back in 2005, people in Bombay died because their cars were inundated and the ACs spewed toxic fumes or their doors and power windows got jammed. BEST buses, especially Double Deckers were saviours back then.

Some skeptics, including journalist Sagarika Ghose and IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt chose to politicise/communalise the issue with talk of Hindu-Muslim and Cows. I guess unless they are stranded in the rains themselves, they will not learn.

What can you do, if you are stuck, or you can offer support?

  1. Contribute to Arun’s map above if you can.
  2. Coordinate with Harshita [linked above] on Twitter or Medium and share details.
  3. Do not forward images on Whatsapp. Last week, some News Channels were showing images of a flooded city in China, claiming it was Chennai.
  4. Contribute to the Zomato fund, or some other cause. There are people donating Power Banks to Chennaiites.
  5. Stay indoors, stay safe. You do not know what can hit you, bite you, suck you in.
  6. AVOID RUMOUR MONGERING and DO NOT PANIC OR CAUSE PANIC.
  7. If you are on Twitter, and you have something to share, use #ChennaiRains, #ChennaiRainsHelp and tag @TwitterIndia or @The_Hindu in it.
What can we learn from this?
  1. Every city needs to be prepared for such incidents. A strong Disaster Response team needs to be set up at a local level.
  2. Coastal cities, namely Chennai, Mumbai, Mangalore, whole of Goa, Kerala, Vijayawada, Puduchery need to get together and find new ways to pump out storm water.
  3. Interlinking of Rivers must be taken a lot more seriously now.
  4. This must be a wake-up call for illegal, irregular, unathourised constructions. Chennai would not have been affected to this level if it hadn’t been for the screw-ups done by the Corporation of Chennai, Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority and Directorate of Town Planning.
  5. Lakes and river beds must be cleaned, desilted.
  6. Storm water drains need to be redesigned.

Having experienced the Floods of 26th July 2005, I know how it feels to be stuck in the rains. Be brave Chennai, if Mumbai could survive, so can you.

 

Updates


Chennai Floods IndiChange Participant

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