GBGB: National Strategy Meet on Metro Project - 4
Duration: 00:32:21; Aspect Ratio: 1.333:1; Hue: 110.290; Saturation: 0.016; Lightness: 0.414; Volume: 0.247; Cuts per Minute: 0.742; Words per Minute: 139.400
Summary: A 2 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 7 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 "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.
Rushanak from Ahmedabad said that, Government of Gujrat has been smartly cornering large amount of funds for uplifting its image and availing funds form the central pool. On of the project that has been pushed un-democratically is the BRTS project which is to be implemented in 4 phases with 460 crores being spent on the first phase only. In Ahmedabad 5-6 lakh families are dependent on street vending. Hundreds of vendors have been moved out till date without any sort of compensation or rehabilitation. Before moving them out, they are not given any prior information. Although 55 stations have been developed till date, but no vending is being permitted there inspite of the fact that vendors are ready to pay the commercial prices for the same.
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 country wide 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 legislations 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: A road is needed even to ride a cycle... its a vehicle without the use of a machine like the Bullock cart... there should be a different track for such vehicles but that can't be seen in the plan... so this can be done. How public transport should be paid attention to and the personal cars in the family of wealthy people owning 4 cars per family their number should be controlled. So they said this is not a big thing one car runs empty the driver sits alone or one person sits so more people should be taken such a facility happens in different countries this can be done and there is no proceedings on this. So we know we will do what we want. Secondly he said that those who are getting displaced there is no count of them and there is no register, but when they brought out proper information it came out that those who are giving money the bank from Japan which is a government bank not private but Japanese money is coming here under which there are guideline that what should be done about the displaced people which is not being executed.
Medha Patkar : And the guidelines of those bank are like the World Bank, an example of Mumbai is that the MUTP project i.e.Mumbai Urban Transport Project and Mumbai Urban Infrastructure Project these two projects are displacing around 50,000 families. Half have been displaced half are going to be displaced, The question that we and the shopkeepers put in accordance of the MUTP project to the World Bank Inspection panel, which was made during Narmada... Where the World Banks money is associated they undertake proceedings. Such panels or channels somewhere in every IFI(International Financial Institution) has it... leo and everybody knows. We have to question them that your rules aren't being followed and how are you investing in it.We have to question these international funders, we will discuss this tomorrow it's very necessary and as per the information received it's clear that their rules aren't being followed.
Medha Patkar: Not only this the National Rehabilitation policy that came in 2006-07 and got finalized. When the Parliament starts on 2nd July there is a possibility of it being legalized there, we just discussed this yesterday. The state government is not executing this policy, this policy says that there should be a chapter for the social effects as well like there is environmental effects. But when the state government was told this they said that this is a policy of the center and we aren't obliged to execute it. If they want this to be done they should give the money. This fight between Delhi and the states... since the Congress has come to power the BJP states have raised this fight. Every Chief Minister is making a noise because they want to win the next elections. This is also a BJP state so they are raising a question that UPA government is taking money for the policy. Even the law is of weak policy, that is also very weak in the new enactment of the bill from the parliament is also very weak.
Medha Patkar: In that also Social Impact assessment will be done but based on social impact assessment decision is not to be taken . If the assessment is just being done and kept then what is the point... then it will become like what Ramchandraiah or Rajinder Ravi would do.Until the government doesn't consider it to be a basis for decision making
till then Social Impact Assessment is not a great thing and it will be needed in that policy
and along with this they said that the committees that were made under this policy were not made. Those who are going to profit from this even they are not on the committee if even they aren't taken then taking those who are displaced is out of question. The vigilance that should be kept is not kept that is why in today's situation there is no remedy for the problems of those displaced in this plan.
Medha Patkar: Keeping the rest aside .
Off screen: Rushanak bhai from Ahemdabad.
Medha Patkar: and will be ready for tomorrow, we will see that and say. this is a 5 minutes film on What is Development? but before that what is on our city taking into consideration poor people and that also Ahemdabad.You know where in the name of religion a killing spree took place .On the banks of Sabarmati river 40,000 families, because the water from Narmada was bought filled and only 7% is being used 93% is going to the sea but there 40.000 families and specially Muslim families so it became necessary to remove them. So a complete shiny city on one side and broken parts on the other and those who are working in the middle he is going to give us news about them.
BRTS(Bus Rapid Transport System)
Rushanak: I'm an architect by profession (?) so this is my professional background. From a long time... there was an earthquake in Bachao then i was a student and from there I started thinking that those who get displaced... what is their rehabilitation issue and how development is added to that and finally since a few years in the city with the poor the relocation that happens specially in Ahemadabad that you were talking about. The policy of Central governments... the Gujarat government is separate from the central government yet they use it very smartly and are extracting their mileage. So, I have studied what is happening in that like the earlier presentation said that BRTS is most sustainable because it is better then the metro rail system as it was said. But some of my observations ... my personal belief is that any system we have to decided which is a good one and then their implementation, how you deal with it... it's most important otherwise there is no system which can't be manipulated.
Rushanak: So, basically about BRTS... Ahemadabad to know from 45,00,000, there are about 1,00,000 are vendors ,everybody knows vendors...
Off screen: Street Vendors.
Rushanak:Lorries... those who sell their wares on the footpath and if you count 5,00,000-6,00,000 people are dependent on them their family members, all of them work 1,00,000 is just a count but all of them work sometimes the daughter sits, sometimes the husband sits... 5,00,000-6,00,000 people in a population of 45,00,000 are vendors and BRTS... when development in Gujarat has been spoken about recently. Everybody feels that it should be developed and in Gujarat such arrangement is made that it feels that nobody is poor as you said 40,000 over there are getting displaced. I conducted another study in which a second side of BRTS ... it's about the implementation scheme and it's being implemented in 4 stages. In which the first stage is getting completed and the first service is starting from the next month.
Rushanak: So lets see as there was a chaos in Delhi on the first day what will happen in Ahemadabad... I felt that in the name of development so many expenses are being made... Rs 460cr are being spent on this, in BRTS first phase. So it was told that it's a a cost effective and speedy transport system for the poor to ravel from their places of livelihood to their homes. So we thought of conducting a study about the provisions for the poor. We saw that there were roads in many places , first there was a ring road... peripheral road on that the first phase was being implemented. So those who are vending over there and earning from there... how are they being integrated... systematic arrangement... that is what we were observing...I'm showing you'll. We'll go through it quickly, the first picture it's a bus stand there will be a small garden a tree foundation will be kept there... this is the service road and vendors are sitting there. They are selling clothes embroidery clothes, shoe sellers and there are a lot of other vendors and all.
Rushanak: Basically there are around 200 of them. The second aspect of BRTS is that they are saying that, today 2.50 lac people are using public transport every day which is AMTS... the bus system Ahemedabad Municipal Transport Service and they are planning to attract more people by 2050. Believing it to be 40% , it's 7% now and 40% will be travelling by public transport that's their projection which means 12.50 lac people... At least 2.50 lac out of 12.50 lac will be travelling there. So we thought that vending starts in the areas where people come in larger numbers because that attracts people... so is there a provision for it, so many people are going to come... is something being thought about that for the future... that's fine... leave that...the second question is what is being thought about what has to be done... about those who are already there. So we conducted a study about how many people were there and these were some points on the basis of which we conducted a study... what is thought about the people who it will have an impact on... what is thought about their future and what is temporary... the work that is going... of road widening... they've been moved out temporarily and have been bought back... whether they are bought back or no nobody knows... what is to done about that?
Rushanak: If they are temporarily relocated then how are they handled and after that are they being bought back... that is what we were basically thinking about. If you see about Ahmedabad city the River Sabarmati is flowing from between... this is the eastern Ahmedabad and that is the western part. Firstly a mall city was developed on the east side which is old city and outside they made the ring road it's basically... every year they made some rings... now there are around 4 complete rings one of which you can see which continues leaving the airport area aside comes this side... For the BRTS route this road was selected that is phase 1... this ring comes in phase 2... this one comes in phase 3 and the last one is going to be added it's going to be elevated... that is what is being talked about in the discussion. Generally everything is on the surface... so, when the ring road was made 10 years back since then it's implemented on this... after that the expenses are coming up to Rs. 460cr.
Rushanak: One thing we saw in the last presentation... the costs that are reduced but one part should also be kept in mind and which he pointed out...somebody pointed out... expenses get reduced because the existing infrastructure but when it's not there then they are relocated in the phases. 10 years back the process of street widening was started after 2-3 years it was restarted and when BRTS started it started again...So it has been relocated 3-4 times... sometimes.
Medha Patkar: The roads are widened and people are...
Rushanak: In every 2-3 years 500-1000 people are removed... you will not feel that 5000 people are removed together... you will think 500 people are removed and thousands more are to be removed. I have a variable about what I am talking...
Medha Patkar: 500 people are being removed and people think they are being removed at least I am safe.
Rushanak: Yes it's a divide.
Rushanak: One thing we observed and we couldn't capture it completely in the study. the second general observation was that there were a lot of vendors on cross junction and on the side of the streets... there are many on the cross junction. Secondly, some developed as markets... some were on the streets and some were concentrated markets which were developed and some markets were older than 20 years. The ring road is quite new so 20 years is quite (?) market for this place it's on the periphery. Ahmedabad city was traditionally always contained in this much area... in the last few years it was expanded by the government(?) and if we glance through the well made report there is no mention of street vending. So they don't even accept the presence of street vendors and the question about planning for that doesn't arise. Secondly, they aren't being told that they will be removed... during the survey when we had a casual chat... anybody... AMC(Ahemadabad Municipal Corporation)which is implementing the project with the help of finance from JNNURM, they are sharing 50%, 15% is government of Gujarat and 35% is the share of Government of India.
Rushanak: They are not being told that they will be removed, so vendors don't have a problem because now they are doing their work but as and when traffic increases the pressure to remove them will come first is what I think . So we found that in Phase 1 there were roughly more then 2000 vendors which means more then 10,000 people are dependent on them.
Medha Patkar: They were removed.
Rushanak: they weren't removed... the most interesting part is they weren't removed ... they aren't doing anything now.They will be told in a small (?) that you have to move out tomorrow. So they go somewhere and some go away permanently... so when we reached to conduct the survey quite some people must have left permanently... some shifted a bit aside because working is going on there and they come back later. But no more information is given about them and many people thought that they are conducting a survey... taking down their names so they may be removed. So some people didn't register their names they said we will not give our names and any other details.
Rushanak: And those who have been removed temporarily there is no mechanism worked out for that... like locating a place nearby so that they can shift, such an assurance is not given to them. Along with that they haven't been given any information... actually most of the people rather customers also who are buying from the vendors, even they didn't know why the road was being made...there was a bigger road in the middle and there are road dividers on the road. In a normal situation the road is made in the middle here there were dividers on two sides and the bus runs in the middle and there was a structure of the bus centre being made nobody knew why it was happening. It's just about also people's awareness... people's consultation which should happen... it happens in the paper but actually people don't know... whom it is affecting directly even he doesn't know why it's happening.
Rushanak: They all were sitting there since 5-20 years , their age average was 20-45 years
and some people had just started recently and some how we found out that the Diamond Industry is active in Gujarat...that is why the number of vendors has increased and their competition has increased because people who work in diamonds also shifted over here and in total 28-30 types of businesses are being carried out over here. Somebody sells peanuts, somebody clothes one interesting market in the old city traditional... am seeing it since I was small... there would be a man or woman who would have a Cloth bag and a utensils and they will shout "cup and jar"... where you would give your old clothes and they would give you utensils in return .
Rushanak: So those clothes would get repaired and would go in the market that was a market for the whole of Ahmedabad where people come from outside as well and take them.It's going from that road and roughly 3000 people sit there and nobody knows what's going to befall them and it is in the old city and will come in the third phase... so they don't even know that something is happening. It's happening in many places and they are doing it in different ways...most... secondly...about their rehabilitation... Actually I saw a second design and saw the place there... there is quite some place in the bus stand as well... basically they are saying that two buses can stand at a time... like you saw a slide of the bus in the first presentation... like there can be one 100 (?) bus and 2 such buses can stand there is so much place. I was thinking if an investment of Rs460cr is being made and if your making such a big bus stand and many people are going to come there... it's a good opportunity for new vendors, new hawkers... an option for livelihood can be made but you're killing it instead.
Rushanak: Rather than providing facilities that on every bus stop at least 10-15 vendors make a shop... 55 bus stops are being made in phase 1. Which means you can easily accommodate like 500-700 on the bus stands itself as well as there is a road in the middle and when you are going on the footpath... when you come out on the footpath there is possibility of housing them there also.
Medha Patkar: Wherever there are bus stops and many people are expected to come... the vendors and small businesses should be given a place there. So poor people get a cheap market and there will be employment as well .
Rushanak:If we believe that this can't be done then this is a mistake because this is going to happen... means it's ignoring a fact you know... when so many people are coming together... so actually... your idea also was to in a way see... what was the possibility of improving and really making it for people and there are a lot of problems which JNNURM and the free market says the way analysis is done I think... the way the free market is given to the AMC or Municipalities is wrong in a way... that dictates everything.
Rushanak: So, they have taken easily to the financial part... just that all the reworks were given but how to do the... participatory process should be there... If something happened in 2001... there was a workshop under the name of participation but in that the real stakeholders are not invited. So... and the requirement of vendors is not much... Secondly according to that we figure in Ahmedabad that... we asked vendors that will you give some of your share with that... The vendors said that we are ready to give monthly rent at reasonable rates and we counted and they are almost ready to pay equal to commercial rents because it's a big space and open... so it will be less anyway and they are ready to pay that much rent. But the problem with AHA the dialogue that is out is they don't want them to sit with anybody by rights. That is why they get scared... instead...means snatching employment... where there can be more opportunity to employment instead they are trying to snatch it which seems wrong... quite wrong...
Rushanak: National policy of street vending says planning... of should be supportive of such natural markets and should be done in participatory process which is totally out of this.
Medha Patkar: The policy that the government has made for vendors in 2004 they have said that there should be reserved areas for street vendors but they are not doing that, like we just came from Marine Lines. Social Science Congress was going to be there... it is a hawking zone yet so many big social workers and scientists came in yet all of them were removed in front of their eyes... they had to go inside and fight .So what is happening that even in the Hawking Zone if there is a program going on they are temporarily removed from there.
Rushanak: Like I was saying before that there is an area called Mahim Nagar where there was a small lane around 2000, so they made fair sites over there... this happened in many places that it didn't happen together... the impact... 2000 people got it after everything was done it is still so much. So it maybe quite a lot... So I think thats the main thing.(Applause).
Medha Patkar: Anybody has some questions...
Rajinder Ravi: The presentation that Rushanakji gave on Ahmedabad I would like to add to that... like he said about the vendors that there is no place for them. Similarly there is no good place for pedestrians and cyclists, there are footpaths for cyclists but they aren't well designed and the reason behind this is the fault of the government authorities who find solutions to problems... everybody knows this... but those who work to solve the problems of the city including SEVA... SEVA never raised this point... I had gone to Mumbai, Ahemadabad... when I met people from SEVA because the whole corridor is being built where many members of SEVA sit. We have a a gap in our hearts that there is no linkage between transport and livelihood and there is no effect of that, this should be given a serious thought.
Rajinder Ravi: Secondly, the BRTS corridor that is under construction... The Chief Minister has said that the metro project should not be brought in Ahmedabad and due to which BRTS is the primary important project and freeing it from all bondage... their university... state deemed university where Sivanandan was their head on this complete project and heads over there are also implementing them. There was a huge debate on Delhi BRTS corridor and(?). The (?) said that this design in not people friendly because
you haven't considered the cyclists or the builders, that is why how many ever good projects that we or the society has... if the makers don't take the users in consideration even the best projects will have such effects as the one in Ahmedabad.So those wherever they are sitting should raise a question that What is being built and why?If pits are dug in front of my house why are they being dug.There is no point in being dependent on the government, so those who are speaking for the BRTS... people like us doesn't mean that you should speak blindly. Nothing happened automatically in Delhi we conducted a study that 5kms on this side of the BRTS and 5 kms on that side and also studied the activity on the road.
Rajinder Ravi: We said that if the BRTS corridor is working then the vendors sitting there should have place, the cyclists should have place, the rickshaws should get place, there should be a place for toilets,drinking water then the BRTS corridor will be successful and if this doesn't happen then there will be a problem later. That is why the user should be alert and should pressurise and the makers... the consulting agencies don't want to... it's happening in your Rajkot as well. So in the whole of Gujarat, the BRTS corridor is on the first agenda that is why people should be told that even good projects can have bad results if we don't think about it.(Applause).
Rushanak: Let me make clarifications to some of your... one thing about the design all the time I've seen... implement it's not started so we can't say that what will be done finally...but there is a large continuous stream of bicycles and pedestrians... they are showing it in the plan, don't know how it will happen. This is a street dedicated to pedestrian, this is completely dedicated to bicycles on both sides... this is the 60m wide road, it's the biggest road and... this is the smaller one where bicycles will be allowed on both the sides. There is always a dedicated bicycle path but we don't know its exact implementation.
Rushanak: My point is... firstly knowing... this BRTS corridor... now this is the road and there is a long line between two junctions there is nowhere, where you can take a turn and go... and Ahmedabad or in general I think India their mentality is that if I have to go across the road I will not take a whole round and go but will go on the wrong side and reach there.Service roads will mainly be used they are already being used as wrong side that is what service road is for. If we don't design it while keeping the Indian mentality in mind then we will face problems and just to clarify one thing this survey that I have done is with Siva and we put this forward even in the high court... if vendors could be included then how would it be... but it's always late you know...this should have happened 3 years back when it wasn't implemented.
Rushanak: Now things have physically happened...bus stands have already happened... lacs of Rupees are being spent on each bus stand. If it was told to include when it hadn't happened it could be pressurized and made done. Now they say the money is spent and the design is erected so what now... So what you said was right that you should think first and then should act accordingly. The metro rail in Ahmedabad is a project of Rs 4900cr whereas this is Rs 460cr. The suggestions that I receive today from you all was quite nice.
Rajinder Ravi: The consultation that (?) is giving has two parts: first consultation is given by professors of the state university and they have kept a few people for the time being... the sensitive... the architecture who have opposed them they had to leave it..had to resign. 2-3 of my friends who said that what is there on the deign map is not being completed in actuality, it is happening in Delhi as well as the other places. There is no cycle lane being built over there because they are saying there is no demand of the cyclists... so what I said the users... in this digital century you can't trust the divine king or the makers, you have to fight for your rights. As a hungry child cries for milk, the road users...truck users will have to speak up.
Rushanak: You said the right thing... just a small figure, bicycle users in Ahmedabad is 18%...79,000and this is report from the BRTS report and I'm quoting directly from the report. It's written in their report around 38% people walk and two wheelers are maximum and bicycle also very... Ahmedabad is one of the most bicycle using city. We don't know how much it will work. Keeping a bicycle lane doesn't... if I am driving a car and there is no space I will ride it on the bicycle lane and this will happen.
Simpreet Singh: So our discussion on cities ends here and like we said before along with the discussion that happened what we heard, lots of associates have made a film on that and we will be able to see what we just heard. So we will start the film now and before that there is a small song on our issues about our land even they will be done.