Thursday, May 26, 2011

Sky bus to Sky Walk... What next?

Transportation spending is a win-win proposition…Tim Bishop

Now days the news paper should get levied by the entertainment tax for the kind of entertainment they provide by the various news especially about the new announcements regarding our beloved Pune city & the Pandora box that opens after the news! Many may feel exaggeration about my statement but see this sequence of some news about public transport of our city! Some 7-8 years back there was news about Sky bus which is claimed to be successful in other cities & even a demo has given & people started dreaming about one. Then suddenly some sky bus got accident in Goa & silently the proposal scraped up. Then there was BRT which is still making news but mostly for its failure though the try is on! In between there was Mono rail & the Metro, about which no body is speaking when & how? And now Sky walk! One day a news has come about standing committee clearing Sky walk  immediately next day there are columns of news that how the parties are opposing & claiming the Sky walk has been wrongly approved & is for some individuals benefit & things like that! And then a news come that the same people who have agreed up on the Sky walk proposal has given refusal about it! I don’t doubt their intentions & respect it very much regarding the genuinely towards the citizens of the city! Yet for a path breaking decision like going for Sky walks isn’t it a short time to accept the proposal & within 48 hours turn away the same? Agreed as per the quote of the great planner Tim Bishop, Transportation spending indeed is a win-win situation but for whom, is the big question here?

Well well if after so many examples still you doubt my statement about entertainment tax on news? At least if our rulers can’t save us from buying petrol for our vehicles at 70/ litter yet they are making us to smile for some reasons! I always wonder whose job is this really to ensure that to make such sensitive proposals which are supposed to be in the interest of the city & then only put forward for approval instead every time ending up with mockery of them? Have we not some capable personnel or we don’t want them to be involved in such proposals? In one of my recent write-up I have said affordable housing is everybody’s responsibility & one major step in making a home affordable is try to save on other expense & right now petrol expense is the maximum after education for any middle class family. Every family has minimum 2/3 two wheelers & a four wheeler for week ends. Today you go for interview of any job first they ask you about having two wheeler rather at many organizations that’s a must condition for the job & it’s indeed a need too! What does it indicate? It indicates common man's distrust of the public transport of this city & people prefer to spend on buying a private vehicle & keep its tank filled rather than to wait for a public vehicle which no one trust that will come in time & take them to their destinations. Many will think what it has to do with affordable housing but every rupee spend on petrol could have been saving which eventually could have been used for buying a home. After all affordable housing is not something coming from the Gods wish but it’s a thing which you & I have to do! When we say something affordable means like a cup of tea which a street worker can get at 2/-, a middle class person can get at "amrit tulya" (tea shop) at 5/- , a higher middle class can get at Vaishali at 15/- & a top class guy can get at 100/- plus in any five star joint; in nut shell each can have a cup of tea as per his requirement & capacity.

Can we say something like this about Public Transport? Ask any citizen of the city & he will say the first problem is commuting within the city & here every body have to try for their own solution as no option have been there by the system is a fact. Naturally all have to spend more than what public transport system could have done & here we start making the ultimate product i.e. the home costlier. We are unable to provide proper education at cheaper rate neither we can make a system which assures the people to keep their private vehicles at home & yet to reach their destinations in time in cheaper way & we expect them to have money to buy home & for the loan installments! To whom we are fooling? Our own self & nobody else!

Now we have come up with the idea of Sky walk, why it hasn’t shown in any of the development plan yet neither who are going to use them? Who has finalized the routes & on what basis? Why can’t we first get the existing footpaths in proper shape & make them free of encroachments first? Why it’s always insisted that PMC wont have any financial burden? What’s harm if the city pays for its own infrastructure? So many questions even a common man can have in his mind which we underestimate! Why don’t we just focus on one system of transport & let it run to its fullest? PMT is there & still so many of the people believes in PMT may be because of sheer monopoly but yet they use it. And so many of bus stops even don’t have shade to make their wait comfortable in rains or in summers & we are thinking of their walking comfortable! I am not commenting against Sky walks, just trying to remind the concerns that nothing can be executed by words of mouth & remember we can’t fool for a longer time to the crowd by making just popular announcements!

Long back in our childhood there was a prank in which one guy used to ask other " Tula Kapuskondyachi gosht sangu? (Shall I tell you story of Kapuskonda?) On which when the other guys replies “Sang (Yes)", then the first guy use to say “Sang kay mhantos, tula Kapuskondyachi goshta sangu?" (What yes? shall I tell you story of Kapuskonda?)And the teasing goes on, at the end the other guy used to get irritated & realizes that he has been victim of a prank as there was no such story of Kapuskonda! When I read such news every day about new promises by our rulers to the citizens about infrastructure I remember this story because here it’s like a prank being played on us by announcing each day something new especially about the Public Transport. Yesterday it was Sky bus, today its Sky walk, I wonder the day isn’t long where we will be told Sky Choppers i.e. Helicopters are going to be introduced to solve the traffic problems!

Let’s realize the pranks friends or else it will be too late for us & then nothing we will have left with us except the hefty bills of our daily needs which we only will have to pay!

Sanjay Deshpande

Sanjeevani Dev.

Envo-Power Committee, Credai, Pune

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