GBGB: National Strategy Meet on Metro Project - 1
Duration: 01:01:52; Aspect Ratio: 1.333:1; Hue: 111.441; Saturation: 0.024; Lightness: 0.489; Volume: 0.227; Cuts per Minute: 1.972; Words per Minute: 136.083
A two-day-long National Strategy Meet on Metro Projects was held at Ajmera Hall, Mumbai. The meet was attended by representative activists, academicians, environmentalists, transport experts, architects etc from seven cities including Chennai, Mumbai, Bangalore, Pune, Thane, Delhi, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, etc.
The Meet was held in the context of the announcement of Metro Projects to be introduced in 26 cities with proposed investment of 1 lakh crore rupees. The meet was inaugurated by lighting a "mashal", flame of struggle, by veteran freedom fighter Shri Ajmera, Prof. Swapana Banerjee Guha, Kathiayani Chamraj (CIVIC-Bangalore), Smt Geeta (Metro Yard Hatao Abhiyan-Mumbai) amidst slogans.
T. Venkat from Chennai mentioned that the 45 kms long Metro was to cost 14,500 crores and was inaugurated recently. Though government claimed that 90 % of the land required was government land and thus very few demolitions were to be carried out, this was not true. Similarly, the Government of Tamil Nadu was implementing Elevated Road projects (a circular elevated roadway costing 3,000 crores) which was leading to the displacement of thousands of families and all this was being done to provide better facilities for private vehicle owners.
Kathiayani Chamraj lamented the fact that no study was done that could justify the project benefits. With large evictions and displacement, there was a need to form citizen committees to monitor the rehabilitation process.
It was recognised that the National Urban Transport Policy was progressive, but the process by which it was evolved was not democratic. It was identified that it must be a countrywide demand that all mega projects must be implemented by the procedure laid down in the Nagarpalika Act, and for this the laggard implementation of its progressive features (especially that of Metropolitan/District Planning Committees) must become a condition for State and Central support for urban infrastructure projects.
Overall, no project should be rushed through on reactionary grounds, especially projects like Metro which would consume enormous funds and take decades to complete, without due public participation in their decision-making as laid down in the Town and Country Planning Act, Nagarpalika Act, and various other laws and policies.
It was also recognised that the rights of pavements vendors and street dwellers was being snuffed out despite such actions violating Supreme Court directives and national policies. The particular disregard for bastis of the poor when large projects are developed was condemned.
Medha Patkar: The effect of that in Mumbai is that wherever there are old villages of Mumbai like the fishermen, or there were of the poor mill workers; even today these villages are there. Meaning, their land was snatched away, their daily income was taken away. So the discussion that is of decreasing the gap, instead, the gap is being increased for the poor. And there is cheap transport for the poor, there is very little attention on that. So this abnormality and contrast that is there, which is the main basis...
Nagar Raj Mills
National Strategy Meet
Medha Patkar: This is the organization that should be talked about. Every ward should have organization, this is what is written in the constitution, in the article 243. But the people in the ward will never sit. And the people in the ward will never be asked that the land that constitutes the ward, and a committee has been set up for name's sake, but should that land be given to the metro, or should the roads be improved, or what should be done? Till this kind of decentralized organization isn't discussed, till then, where the settlements of the poor are made, which includes the areas of Mankhurd and ahead of Malad and Kandivali, what they have to say will never be heard whereas, the difference that is seen in Walkeshwar, South Mumbai and the Suburbs of North Mumbai that will go on increase and will never decrease. Hence we should also demand that our ward office, our committee and our corporators-what are they doing? They should fight and struggle and obtain their rights or else we won't vote for them.
Medha Patkar: And I will say one last thing about this that this Nagar Raj Mill which has come up is because of the World Bank. There is nothing special about it. But only a point has been made that each ward will be given rights and that a small area will be made in the ward which will organize for development. But actually they have not been given any rights. An order has come up in the Vidhan Parishad of Maharashtra. It has somehow been stopped by some legislators. It will come up again probably before the elections or after the elections, after the Maharashtra elections. We should also demand this that what happens and not happens in the ward, if the ward committee and the corporators don't get together and discuss it, and if they ask the people, by calling a meeting of the ward the way Gram Panchayats have in villages, if they don't do it that way, then there is no importance of these corporators and the Corporation.
There should be a discussion of this kind of organization because only transportation of bus instead of train or train instead of rails or rails instead of airports-that's not the thing.
Sudhir Badami: The metro sectors which are there, which I was saying, the construction of Versova, Andheri and Ghatkopar which has started, it might be completed by 2011. It's footing was laid in 2006. So, it should have been completed in 3 years, it should have been done by now. But it has been postponed by 2 years. In this way everything will be postponed and instead of 16 years it will take 20 or 25 years. One more thing is there. One more thing was asked. It was of Line no. 2 between Charkop, Bandra and Mankhurd. Objections of the citizens in that were asked and the citizens gave some 8,000 complaints. 8,000 is not such a large number, we must be thinking that it is such a large number but that is not the case. They have come from all classes. They have come from people who stay in the slums, from those who stay in Gurgaon, those who stay in Bandra and Santacruz, they too are affected, they too have got them. So many such people have got objections. MMRDA had quite some hearings and we don't know the verdict of it as yet.
Shekhar: My cheers to all my friends present here. Pune, Kanpur, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai- all those who have come from here and all of you who have come to discuss the Metro Rail project, I thank you all from our behalf. We take it that you have come to know and discuss more problems. The government does want to bring in the Metro Rail. But the inflation is such and yet, it is important for them to make Shanghai in the midst of inflation. In this city, the proportion of the working class is more, the hardworking class is more, for whom it is difficult to buy a house amounting to a crore, 2 crore, 25 lakhs or 50 lakhs or of 15-20 lakhs. In this inflation the workers can't get their daily bread, then where will they stay? In this situation, people made houses for having a roof on their head and for them to stay. The sewers; where there is puddle because of inundation of water, there people filled in 20 feet and made settlements. After making settlements people worked hard and as the population increased facilities such as schools, colleges, temples and mosques and population control increased. And people went their respective ways.
Shekhar: But, in 2006 the government took made plans of bringing in the Metro rail here. As Badami Sir has said, that the Metro Rail plan or Metro Rail is going to run for 146-147 kms and going to travel for the people. It is going to be completed in three phases as per the talks. From Bandra to Colaba, till Versova, Ghatkopar and Andheri, one phase has started whose footing has been laid in 2006 and that work is being completed. It was objected to, and people has a lot of problems and troubles with it, in the same way on 14/11/2006, in Kandivali, that is Charkop, the proposal of Bandra and Mankhurd was passed and there is deliberation about that proposal going on.
Shekhar: The question came up of our settlement, where in Kandivali (West) 25,000 houses in Nandipada, Ganesh Nagar, Sanjay Nagar, Ekta Nagar, and in Janata Kandivali 25,000 people stay in A/C areas. It is not a hutment. It is a 40-50 year old settlement which has good shops, apartments and houses. It has thousands of people working in there. It has big and small companies of steel, iron, furniture, companies making shoes and chappals, those that make jewellery. And in the midst of this one and a half lakh people stay. And for 1 and a half lakh people there are 5 schools, which are approved by the government and there are 2-3 illegal government approved colleges. There are temples, masjids, gurudwaras and churches. Everyone worships as per their religion and are faithful to their religion. The whole land constitutes our settlement. A decision is being taken to construct the Metro Rail project on this settlement.
Shekhar: This decision is taken by the government and the responsibility is taken by the MMRDA. Because the Metro Rail project has been completely given over to the MMRDA. The MMRDA wanted to hit many targets with one aim. Their point is that the hutments will be vacated and they themselves will get enough land. And it will be so enough that at times we talk about 47 hectares of land and Metro Rail yard wants 140 acres of land. And as the speaker before said the Metro Rail yard does not require so much land but for snatching away that land, the government they decided a rule and handed over the charge to MMRDA and because of that our entire settlement got uprooted and the plans started to be formed and almost the whole account has been formed.
Shekhar: When we all came to know about it, that this settlement is being used to make the Metro car shed, from that time onwards, people starting opposing it. And first people used to think that Metro Rail will be from Link Road. People quietly saw it, and it was not being opposed to in our area that brother the rail, the metro train will pass from here, and we will be developed. But when it came upon us, 25,000 houses will be taken away by Metro Rail, gobbled up by Metro Rail, on the pretext of the Metro Rail yard, that time people started opposing it. In the starting various groups also raised questions. They too had their constraints. Then too they were trying to strengthen this voice but they used to be quietened. And the people there were greatly troubled and shocked as they were being thrown out of there as the government had not decided upon any policy as to where they will rehabilitate after demolishing the settlement, the notification about that was not given and the plans were carried out.
Shekhar: In that too there is no mention of such a big place. Hence, all of us opposed it and under the leadership of our sister, we have started this fight. A lot of meetings happened. In that settlement, a lot of orphaned people have gathered. People have been told what will happen to us and what the government will be doing. People went to MMRDA and registered their grievances. MMRDA spoke about actually opposing to them. They said we will make it. We cannot make any other plans. We have technical problems. We could not go to any other place and we told them that there is a lot of land in other parts of Mumbai, where you can construct it. Goregaon, Borivali, Kandivali, Malad- throwing out people from 8 places and rehabilitating them in Mankhurd on the pretext of planning- there was enough land there too. We got together and told them that why don't you make your plans here? They were shown enough land in Borivali, ahead of Kandivali and Charkop. But they were stubborn on their stand.
Shekhar: We kept on with our struggle under the leadership of our respected sister. And we went on doubling our strength. And in the due course we registered 15,000 complaints in Mantralaya. We opposed the notification too-that you dare not crush us. Make the yard somewhere else. Hellbent on our stand we gave an opposition letter to the government, not a request letter but a letter opposing everything that at any cost the Metro yard should not be made here and why do you want to make it, then you may find some other way out. That time itself when we locals were getting an opposition letter registered, the terrorist attack happened in Mumbai. That's why we were able to lodge only 15,000 complaints. Otherwise they would have been around a lakh, people would lodge their complaints, otherwise each house would have lodged 25,000 complaints for sure.
Shekhar: The same day, after these complaints, first we would have appealed to the authorities of MMRDA, to the politicians, to the social servicemen, to the journalists, because no one has any opposition there. When opposition happened in Mantralaya, that time we felt that there's something there, something is happening there. For that we had to gather in Azad Maidan, collaborating with various organizations in the month of March we had a gathering there. That time itself, we had the chance to meet the the chief head of State development, with our sister and we got a chance to say what we wanted to. He asked, 'What do you people want?' and we said, 'We want this Metro Yard to be made somewhere else.' Then he said, 'Why are you opposing to it?' and I said, 'Take it that in a settlement of 25,000 people within 140 acres had an entire building been constructed, like, had a mall like Inorbit been constructed, then would you have approved the Metro Rail project? Had you not gotten place for the yard, then what other possibility would you have chalked out.'
Shekhar: On that, what sister very firmly made her point, and said to Mr. Benjamin that, he said that in the second week I will have a hearing of all the complaints and after that I will take a decision. In the same way in Mantralaya, Yeshwantrao chavan made time and had a hearing of all. He came to know the thoughts of about 600-800 people. After 3-4 days he gave information in the press that the people of MMRDA are trying to make a plan to make the Metro Rail Yard smaller. But, if we go now and ask that what was this plan that was made then they say that it is processing and when it will be ready we will tell you. But we are still scared now and our demand is that the Metro Car Shed be not made here. Wherever they have seen places suitable enough, there they may make their plans. We will have a lot of inconveniences hence the Metro yard may not be made there.
Shekhar: Even now the people of MMRDA have not revealed what they have to say. The only question is whether a man will fight just for the rich? Just as the speaker before me said that the developmental plans are not for the poor, they are just for the rich. Now it seems that in the city of Mumbai the days of difficulty for the poor and the working class are approaching. As it is these are tough times. These are not times to relax. In the midst of inflation, we are not able to eat and live easily. We are not able to easily provide our children with education. Today, in such a situation, how can we make houses and apartments? How will the poor make them? And how will we develop?
Shekhar: It is not that those staying in hutments are from a lower class and that they are downtrodden. They are lawyers, engineers. There unemployed people have prospered. To serve the nation they have taken education and have become officers, they have become doctors. They have become very successful. If, in such a situation, under the pretext of development, only the poor will be ignored, then we will never be able to tolerate this and we will continue to oppose. We want the Metro Rail Yard to be made somewhere else. And in your different states there are many different issues and many different knowledgeable people have had discussions on that and we are very well aware of how far this plan will be executable for us and not and how much we will profit from it and how much we will lose.
Shekhar: Keeping all these things in mind, we have to raise our voice and present our demands in front of the government. The government doesn't agree easily. I agree that all of you are knowledgeable people, struggling people sitting here who must have fought many battles and known them and understood them. In this, I hope that, I expect that, that our struggle, here we have people who have come from the Metro Car shed areas, it has been effectively said in those areas that the Car Shed won't be made here. This has been published in newspapers. But, even now with a few warnings and that right that party is reputed. They say that they have not taken any decision with regard to this and that we will look into this and then, afte deliberation and thought we will have a talk.
Shekhar: Hence, we all have to, brother Shekhar you too, and some of our sisters have come here, we all don't have to be so assured that the Metro Car Shed won't be here. They have just said that they will make the Metro Car Shed smaller. They have not guaranteed anything and it is not decided and has not come to us in writing. Hence we should continue with our opposition to the Car Shed. And all our friends who have come here from different places, wherever this is being opposed to, all our friends who are under Mr. Simpreet's leadership, we will reach each place. Now that all of you have come to this city for a discussion, from our side we thank you all. And again we will gather in this way, with this hope, I thank you all.
Simpreet: Thank you Mr. Shekhar. I would like to add a thing or two that in Mumbai, the notification that came out, the first thing that was evident in it was that the Metro that is here, the Tram Weight it has of 1800/86 is of the 19th Century during the British rule. So with regard to this I would say that latest technology has not been taken into consideration in that act. And regarding that objection has been taken that how can Metro be defined by Tram Weight on legal grounds also? And in this way the topic that is there of the Car Shed Compartments, they had started with 150 acres. But when opposition started, a lot of their press releases started coming and they started saying that we want just 15 acres of land now. And when they were asked that initially you asked for 150 acres and how come you want 15 acres now? Then, they did not have any answer for that. And even under the Right To Information Act when any of their feasibility reports or be it any of their detailed project reports, they have not shared any of those till now. They answered RTI saying that of we reveal this information then it will endanger the security of the nation. Hence, we cannot share that information.
Simpreet: And, even the work that is going on today, one phase of work has been taken up by Reliance, and that was to be completed by 2009 and that has not been completed even today. And in the second phase the bidding that happened, only Reliance was left to take it up. So this is one thing that it too will go to Reliance only. A huge viability gap funding, of about 650 crores or more, the sector government is giving it to Reliance. And because there is a provision in the notification that the land that will be in the area of 15 meters around the Metro Railway, that as been declared commercial by them. And increasing the FSI there like the FAR demand in Bangalore, and they have increased the FSI to 4. Since the past few months, since it's Reliance company, whatever area and buildings were there, Reliance started buying it which were besides the Metro track. Because, the FSI there was 4 and in the rest of the city it is 1 or at the most 2.5. Since they get more FSI here, they wanted to buy the rest of the buildings too. And, once Metro comes, they will change the face of the whole area. So, with this I will... (Audience member asks a question).
Simpreet: Yes. Here also, the tradition that used to go on of public and private partnership or whether the state would do it. In the first phase it was a public-private partnership of MMRDA and Reliance. But when Mr.Shridharan raised the question of Hyderabad, he felt that they shouldn't do PPP here as they were having problems with what Reliance was doing. So they announced the 'Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation'. But they have not come out with it's notification till now. And what they said about the hearing of the notification it was then understood that whoever was the Head of that, he was only taking the hearing against it. So this is also there and it is against the principles of Natural Justice- that the one who is making the project, how can he himself conduct it's hearing? And the RTI that we have put on it says that the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation that is there like the Delhi Metro rail Corporation, it has come in the newspapers that it's notification has been made since a year. But it is not evident. There is no office, nothing. So, what is there, and what is not. On one hand we can say that it is not knowing something.
Simpreet: And another big thing is the question of the environment. When this struggle of the Metro Car Shed was going on, they said that we will not throw out the people. But there is a 20 acre plot besides that which has got mangroves. There was a Poisar river there which they have mentioned as a sewer in the papers. So now they are saying that, we will take permission from the Central Government and cut the thousands of mangroves on that 20 acre land and make a Depot. And the judgment about this has not been passed as yet. And in case of the environment also this is a loss. And after Mumbai, I would request Mr. Venkat, who has come from Chennai, and who is a youth volunteer, and those who are related with the work out there, he will talk to us about that.
T.Venkat: At the outset, I would like to thank everybody who are here, who have come from different parts of the country, especially, Simpreet and the entire team who has put together this. Please forgive me as I don't know much of Hindi and I am not really good at it. I understand Hindi but I can't speak. The two reasons I would like to discuss; one is about the Metro Rail. And I do not have much information about the Metro Rail except for the fact that.. I know that they have alloted 9,000 crore rupees for the Metro rail in Chennai. They are planning almost 6 corridors, this is apart from a very strong Suburban Rail system that we have. 4 Suburban rail lines are there and they have also brought in a mass rapid transit system along the Marina Beach. But this apart they are planning 6 corridors of which the first two corridors have been the bylines. And both of them catered to the ...
Black salwar: Mr. Venkat has come from Chennai, and he wants to talk about the issues that Metro rail has in Chennai. (Translates) in Chennai, they have alloted 9,000 crore rupees for the Metro rail in Chennai. They are planning almost 6 corridors, this is apart from a very strong Suburban Rail system that we have. 4 Suburban rail lines are there and they have also brought in a mass rapid transit system along the Marina Beach.
T.Venkat: Even though they have changed the two phases of the Metro rail, actually 80% of the land is government-owned land, there is still a huge impact on commercial establishments. A lot of government establishments both in the industrial side of Chennai and the predominantly residential side of Chennai is being affected because of this project. And the other problem with the huge projects in Chennai is that they generally are designed in such a way that they target the slum population, the urban poor population. And we saw this even when the mass rapid transit system was designed. It was designed in such a way that the whole... can you hear me? It was designed in such a way that nearly 10-15,000 families were relocated and they were nearly 25 kms away from the city. Entire new communities were formed. And now we all believe that something very similar will happen. If not immediately in this phase, perhaps the next phase of the Metro Rail Project.
Black salwar: (Translates) The Metro Rail project that is coming up is being designed in such a way that 10-15,000 families will be uprooted. And most of them will include people staying in slums and hutments and not people in big buildings.
T.Venkat: In the meanwhile what I would like to highlight here is that the city of Chennai is also planning huge investments to increase roadspace and allot them with private vehicles primarily for cars and two wheelers. And inspite of the whole number of academics and other branches of experts speaking here...the other day we had Sudhir Badami and other people who had spoken about the need for public transport, this is also reflected in the National Urban Transport Policy. But inspite of it the city of Chennai is planning circular, high-speed transport corridors which will be elevated. And they are planning 7 such elevated corridors all around the city. And the most disturbing fact about the elevated corridor is that two of those elevated corridors are going to be constructed over the two water systems that we have. And two other corridors are going to be constructed in the oldest canal we have, the Buckingham canal which was once an actual trade route and then into supplying water and now it is again, unfortunately a gutter. But some of the transport planners have something against Chennai's water. We are already a water starved city. But consistently they try to.. kind of.. build it on the water.
Medha Patkar: (Translates) The city of Chennai is also planning huge invstments to increase roadspace and allot them with private vehicles primarily for cars and two wheelers. But inspite of it the city of Chennai is planning circular, high-speed transport corridors which will be elevated. That means it will be made all around the city like the Link Road in Delhi. And vehicles will travel in high speed on it. And as it will be elevated from the ground it will be matter of crores of rupees. And mainly, the 6 Metro lines that will be made, out of them two which have been decided upon, out of them one will be on a water system of theirs. Which water system? Elevated corridor is going on a water system? And these projects are being made on 3 water systems of theirs. One is Bunckingham canal, one is Adial river as Mumbai has Mithi river. Hence, it will affect the water supply.
T.Venkat: The whole project is 6-7 elevated corridors. It is going to cost the city atleast 4,000 crores. So, together the Metro Rail and the elevated corridors are going to cost us nearly 30,000 crores which is being stated by the government. We do not know what the actual cost will be. Once again here, the issues are the same. We are not able to get enough information about the projects except what is being released in their press reports and other reports. We do not know how they have come to those numbers. Because especially in the elevated corridors, road corridors they are saying that they will decongest the roads nearly by 15%. But the elevated corridors have very limited access which means not many people will use them. But still they are coming to numbers which are like phenomenally high. And we do not know how they have come to those numbers, what research they have depended on. The problem with the elevated corridors once again is, they are saying that they will be demolishing more than 3,000 slum structures and over a 1,000 non slum structures. This is the data they have given. They are not saying how many houses, they are saying slum structures. One structure can house one family, or one structure can hous 30, 40 or even 100 families.
T.Venkat: And, if I have to give you an example, there is one corridor that they are constructing from the Midas harbour to ..outside the city. So the flight is... flight we can have easily. And they are also planning two lanes in it for cars. And they have said that this will destroy around 400 slum structures. But Tamilnadu's slum clearance forum which is the R&R, rehabilitation board and agency, is conducting a survey of more than 10,000 households. So 400 structures can remove 10,000 households. The entire city will be like 50,000 households or 60,000 households are going to be destroyed. And this falls very much into their master plan agenda of removing 3 lakh slum houses and families from the entire city and take them away to remote places in Chennai.
Medha Patkar: What he is saying is worth keeping in mind. (Translates) They are going to suffer from a lot of loss, they are going to suffer from loss of water. But they are giving assurances as to what benefits they will have. And these are all tall claims. And the figures that are being given, what meaning do they have? On what basis are these numbers decided? As he is saying, road corridors they are saying that they will decongest the roads nearly by 15%. But the elevated corridors have very limited access which means not many people will use them. The problem with the elevated corridors once again is, they are saying that they will be demolishing more than 3,000 slum structures and over a 1,000 non slum structures. They are not saying how many houses, they are saying slum structures. But Tamilnadu's slum clearance forum which is the R&R, rehabilitation board and agency, is conducting a survey of more than 10,000 households, who are affected by one corridor out of the 6 corridors. So he is estimating that in 6 corridors 6,000 houses will be demolished. The truth we do not know.
T.Venkat: So, I would rather put this project as that: (A) It doesn't address the transportation issue. It is a huge infrastructure scam. They are going to flow in 3,000-4,000 crores, because even that number they have not decided....3,000-4,000 crores of rupees into a transport plan that doesn't address the basic issue-mobility of the people. It only discusses about how more and more cars can be removed from the roads and can get faster. Second, the entire burden of the project is falling on the working class people, especially the lower income groups of the working class population who have actually built this entire city. And fortunately or unfortunately even this elevated corridor is going to be built by this huge number of migrant workers who are going to come. And after they build this, they will be thrown out of the city. And third is that severe environmental problems. Already, the Bunkingham canal should be bringing water to the entire city. It is almost filled up now because of MRTS and other things. And now they are trying to do the same thing to two other river systems. So, in any of these reasons, the whole exercise that has been passed, the methods...
T.Venkat: Two things that they want to do: (1) They want to invest huge amounts of money so that probably they keep tax and other (?). (2) They want to clean the city of the working class population so that they can use the land for real estate. And these two things they are trying to solve through the project Everytime people are being removed from the city in some developmental project. And every time working class population has to make extreme sacrifices so that the city can develop. And where would they take them? To two places in the city nearly 30 kms away there is one bus that comes every morning from that place, nothing else. The people who come from there spend nearly Rs. 100/- to Rs. 110/- just to come to a place of work in the city and go back. Whereas probably their wages must be around Rs. 100/- because there is no transport arrangement. And these people are being relocated... there is a entire huge move now... a court hearing ... a court order which said that people in the lake areas should be removed. So what is the government doing? Removing encroachments in one or two lake areas and putting them in places which are still water logged. Every monsoon, whenever there is a cyclone, all these slum tenements upto the ground floor and a little more, it's all water logged.
T.Venkat: So this is a systematic attempt to what they call sanitation in the city which we would (?) and with your support I think we will be able to solve this. Yeah, the CDP has been cancelled twice. The bus CDP, the Chennai government plan for abundance of Jains in Europe, the Jains in Europe coming and settling. The second time again those... very small changes were made and it was resubmitted and it has once again been challenged and has been stopped. And the entire..there was this whole public consultation fast that was happening. Small-small groups were being consulted, and some specific NGO was being consulted and being called as public consultancy. But anyway the CDP right now has been stalled.
Medha Patkar: (Translates) These kind of projects burden the poor people only. That's what he was saying. The whole agenda of the government is that the poor should be relocated from the prime places in the city where the rate of land is high where the work of builders coming, making big bungalows and selling them is happening. They are relocated at a distance of 20-30 kms away from the city where the cost of transport itself is more than Rs. 100/-. Because of this tussle all of this is happening. And this should be opposed to and opposition is happening too. A lot of organizations in Chennai have opposed to the developmental plans that are being made and they had to do it twice. And now a formal bureaucrat has been given the task of forming a CDP. And he is involving all the people and he is wanting everyone to give suggestions and various recommendations.
Old man: They should do proper planning and make every area self sufficient. What the mode of transport should be? I think it is always debatable for and against. But, there is no doubt about one thing that something should happen. When development should happen, people migrate from villages to cities. When you want decent work, then something should happen. What should happen is debatable. But after a discussion taking place on this something that will cause trouble to less number of people should happen. That is what I mean. The lower income group should have less trouble. They should have more benefits. Because those who have money are unaffected if anything happens. They can afford anything. Those who need are the poor people. Had the Car Shed not been there the people of Charkop were welcome to the idea of Metro. But since the Car Shed came in opposition started. Why? Because they would have to move from there. That's natural. So, taking into account Global Warming I would just say that this is a very disadvantageous development in the world. And the effect will be that the ice in the north and south pole is melting. And the danger is to the coastal areas which are not one but many- and every one and a half km there is a ocean- take Mumbai, London, Singapore, Jakarta- it will effect every place. The total amount of water won't lessen. The total amount of land won't increase.
Old man: Hence, a lot of feet... now figures are different everywhere that the height of the sea will increase by 30 meters. If the height of the sea will increase by 30 meters then Mumbai will cease to be! It is not impossible for this effect to happen. It is definitely going to happen. I will just say one thing, I won't give a long speech. That, a lot of years back, almost 10-15 years have passed by, there was one proposal that when the development that has happened around Mithi river, when that had not happened, garbage had started accumulating. That time, connecting rail, road and air, a terminal was decided to be made connecting Central and Western railway between Mahim and Kurla. But, the proposal came, discussions happened, and no one did a movement that why this is not happening there. Today we cannot make it. If it is made today, then a small bus depot can be made today. But an opposition will happen that those who have settled there, will be troubled, if we make a project linking the three. So a timely movement is also needed. If something wrong is happening, or, if something should happen, so for something not to happen, instead of having a movement for that, if there is a movement for something good to happen, then in that the poor will be much more benefitted. With these few things, I, my 3 friends and sister have made the introduction and I thank them on behalf of the chair and end the discussion of this part.
Simpreet: A friend of ours has come from Ahmedabad who will put forth what she has to say. But before that, amongst us we have from Bangalore Zainab Bawaji who will talk about the Bangalore Metro. She will be accompanied by Smt. Kathiayani. So I would like to call them on stage. And I request Mr. Krishna from Ahmedabad to please come up on the stage. There are two small announcements that quite a lot of friends must be aware that after the new Central government being formed, the department of environment is now under Mr. Jayram Ramesh. And he has announced some things about the debate between development and environment. And in the midst of that there is news that the Coastal Management Zone plan that was there is planned to be passed. It has been heard that it will be announced on the 14th of July. So a petition has been drafted on that which will be sent to the Delhi Mantralaya. So those who want to sign on that... I hope that there will be many. And so in this way everyone knows about the Narmada Dam, Sardar Sarovar dam which has become a symbol of displacement and wrong development. So one letter is also being sent about that to the Delhi Mantralaya. So all of you please sign over there too. Mr. Shrikant will have both the letters. So now I will hand over to Mr. Sushant... till then Smt. Zainab from Bangalore...
Zainab Bawa: Actually I have mostly, there is a place called Indira Nagar in Bangalore where there are some traders who had lodged a case in the court because they are mostly tenants they don't own the place. There are tenants there. Bangalore Metro Rail gives compensation to tenants also. This is the first provision of it's kind in any city's Metro Rail project. But the compensation that the tenants were getting didn't seem to be adequate to them and so they registered a case in the court. And one basis of their case was also that... they said that on what basis is the Metro rail being taken our way when originally the Metro Rail was supposed to go some other way? All these documents are available on the Bangalore Metro rail corporation's website for you to see- The PSS Thomas Committee report, etc.
Zainab Bawa: But some things, when I had fought their case in court, I had gone as an observer and I had done some reporting also. So I will tell about some other topics that had come up there. The first thing is that the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation that is there is as a Special Purpose Vehicle project. But one thing that came up in the court time and again was that what is the status of a Special Purpose Vehicle? It is a public body or a private body? And if it is a private body how many laws can it implement? How many powers can be vested under it? Then the judges were debating on this a lot in the High Court that what is the status of a Special Purpose Vehicle? So, this point has not been resolved as yet and I don't know what the status of Special Purpose Vehicle in Hyderabad, Mumbai, Chennai and Pune. As far as I understand it's status has not been cleared as yet. So this point can be taken up.
Zainab Bawa: The second thing is that, in Bangalore it had been said that we will acquire so much and so much of land and that so much of land is needed to make the Metro. But then, after some months, a lot of their cases came up in the court, a lot of private land owners opposed to this. They opposed saying that they don't want to give their land, eventhough they were getting compensation. So, in the end what happened is that Bangalore Metro Rail is not able to acquire a lot of land. So in the end they declared that they have made the design of the station very small. So the space for shops and all was made less in the new designs for the station. So they are saying that they will keep shops only for necessary things- like they will keep an ATM or a teastall or coffee shop but nothing apart from that. So the traders whose properties are being acquired have no compensation with regard to the shops. They are protesting on the point that they are not getting shop-space in the station.
Zainab Bawa: The third thing is that whenever there was an attempt to do private negotiations, the authorities of Metro Rail Corporation would say that , 'Yes we will give you this' but they never used to give anything in writing. They used to fret to give anything in writing and because of that court cases got prolonged. Because, the litigates used to say that we are not getting any promise in writing. Then, one more thing is that in this matter Bangalore when a court case was going on it was said that the Indian Rail Authorities are opposing to Metro and that they are not in the favour of Metro. And on this basis, naturally the one who was fighting the case of the traders was saying that the Indian Railways are against Metro. And this is their point that they are implementing it under Tram ways when Tram way is a circular train, an old train which runs in the city. But a Metro is not a circular train. Metro is different. So how is it being implemented as a Tram?
Zainab Bawa: But, when the Indian railway authorities were called in the court they deposed saying that, 'No, we are in the favour of Metro. We have nothing against the Metro.' Hence, the case of the traders became a bit weak. And some authorities under the State government, some bureaucrats know that this Metro Rail project is not viable. Like in Karnataka the Finance Secretary who is there was opposing it since the beginning saying that it is not financially viable. But, the court is not ready to listen to this because the court is saying that the whole cabinet has decided and so this project should go ahead. There have been some problems with regard to rehabilitation. The thing is that the promises that were made are not being fulfilled completely. The slums that are being demolished are not getting enough compensation. And, this is the thing that they are not ready to give anything in writing whatever they are saying is verbal.
Zainab Bawa: And in the end there are two things. When Smt. Naisargi was fighting the case in the court she used to say that she is not getting the documents and the project reports. The Metro Rail authorities are not giving her these documents and they are saying that this is Public & private and hence you become a third party and hence we cannot give it to you. So the biggest thing is that they... even when I used to go to ask that please show us on what basis you give this per head per hour and how you have decided the alignment? So they used to say, 'Now the project is going on. Why do you want to see the study of the alignment?'. Or, 'Everything is there on the website. You come here unnecessarily.' But, actually there were not many documents on the website, very few are there. TPR is not there. The agreement that was done with JB is also not there on the site. And the last thing is that it has been shown all over the world that Metro Rail does not earn its revenue by ticketing. Most of the revenue is by property development and through the leases of the shops that are there on the station. But, if there are less shops in the new design of the Bangalore Metro Rail, then how will this Metro Project be profitable? How will this Metro Project generate it's own revenue? This is another big question that arises.
Zainab Bawa: There are two slums till now that have been notified. Bangalore Metro rail has notified that these two slums will get rehabilitation. But most of the street vendors and hawkers that are there, they are not there in this listing. So, now even we are thinking that let's see how many people get displaced in what manner who are not there in the survey.
Simpreet: So, with Smt. Zainab,Smt. Kathiayani would also like to add something. So...
Kathiayani Chamraj: I would speak in English. The whole thing is interconnected. It's not just Metro it's also connected to other transport projects. So, initially we began by protesting about the road widening in Bangalore. And, we said that under the Right to Information Act, you should have publicized the scheme under Section 41 C and D and explain the rationale for the decisions. So under section 41 C and D of the Right to Information Act, nothing is publicized while formulating the... (CUT)
Kathiayani Chamraj: And, also we requested studies to show how this is going to benefit. How do they think that by these projects, Bangalore's traffic will be decongested? Where are the studies to show that the speed of the traffic is going to improve? And what is the sustainability of the project? Because, the vehicle population of Bangalore is doubling every five years. So after five years I am going to widen the road again. The roads are going to get filled up with private vehicles, so, we question. And even if you are widening the road, we say that where is the implementation of the National Urban Transport Project? Which says there should be second class, there should be lanes for non-motorized vehicles. None of that was shown to us. There were no plans which showed that these charts also will be incorporated. It is just blank and widening of the road just to accommodate more cars. And in addition all the trees are also going, there is no plan for replanting the trees. There is no green strip shown anywhere.
Kathiayani Chamraj: One thing of the Urban Transport Policy is that they have implemented the setting up of a Metropolitan Land Transport Authority which will look into all transport issues in an integrated way. So we may represent before the Bangalore Metropolitan Land Transport Authority and we told them that before you widen the road, you have to think of the alternatives which are being implemented all across the world. Like introducing a congestion track, introducing higher parking fees, introducing other means of strengthening public transport of bus system, trunk routes. And also maybe other kinds of public transport like shared autos,share (?) and so on. They said, yes we know all about these things. But, still we need to widen the roads. And what you are saying is nothing new. But they did not want to implement any of the alternatives before they start widening the road. So, they think they just presented everything like a (?).
Kathiayani Chamraj: Now, alongwith that thing the Metro Project and we were asking for a change in the alignment from running through a public path and also sending Lalbaug to some other area where it could have better occupation of the Metro also. But they said this leads to road to the path. It is under a corridor. But, at the same time they are contradicting themselves by saying, on this corridor the Metro is not viable so, FAR has to be increased to make any more deals. The density of the thing has to be increased to make it viable. If it was not dense then why are you having it there at all? So, all these contradictions are there. Then, we also requested under Right to Information Act receiving file 3 RTI applications, asking whether they have formulated the National Resettlement and Rehabilitation Policy for the road widening as well as for the Metro rail projects. So, now we have received a reply from the Mahanagar Palika saying that under the road widening no resettlement and rehabilitation is required. Eventhough many slum populations are being thrown out, many unrecognized slums are just being demolished to widen roads. And just yesterday I have received from the Bangalore Metro information about their rehabilitation package.
Kathiayani Chamraj: Metro is almost financed partially by the Japanese Bank. The Japanese bank has strict guidelines about how... (CUT). So, maybe tomorrow I can give a little more detail about what Metro has said about their project. But right now I think that's all. Thank you.
Medha patkar: I will say a little for the people who have left their jobs and come here. They are the head of settlements. In section 4 it has been written about the Right to Information act that any plan which affects the life and living of anyone the government itself should give information about it to the people. They put it on the websites, they publish any leaflets but they should give it. And it is not being given which has been raised as a question. In the information they are giving they are not telling in what manner the question of today's transport is being resolved. They say it will be very profitable, very beneficial, it will be very fast, it will take less than 20 minutes to travel between Mumbai and Pune. But they don't show the entire picture of the city- how people are going, how many people are going, what will happen tomorrow, what will happen to this one and that one, what will happen to the poor. They also say that one thing that has become evident is that every 5 years in Bangalore...