Thursday, July 20, 2017

PMPML, Mr. Tukaram Mundhe & Pune!

“The curse of me and my nation is that we always think things can be bettered by immediate action of some sort, any sort rather than no sort”.... Plato.

Plato was a great philosopher in Classical Greece and the founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. He is widely considered the most pivotal figure in the development of philosophy, especially the Western tradition. No wonder the curse he mentioned which actually is attitude, is real strength of ancient Greece which made it flourish as one of the most cultured & advanced country in entire Europe. And what we today lack here in our country is that curse though we have many cursed people here which do think that things can be bettered by immediate action & one very recent is right in our Pune city whose name is Tukaram Mundhe! Yes the guy is cursed with many things & worst is he wants to improve the system in which he is posted. Well, that makes him marked as a wrong man in wrong place & no wonder in service of some ten years he has been transferred equal number of the years he has spent in service lucrative as IAS i.e. Indian Administrative Service! Millions of youngsters aspire for this tag & every year only a handful hundred gets through such is charisma of this service. Though it’s not that tag but what you do with the power which comes along with IAS tag is what defines you & Mundhe seems to be cursed exactly here; as he do what he likes to do most i.e. action to give justice to his job at hand!

No, I am not chamcha of Mr. Tukaram Mundhe nor I am a PMPML employee or suppler or bus contractor, in fact whatever little I know about him is mostly through common circles of system named as Govt as well through the news papers. For those who don’t know Mr. Tukaram Mundhe, IAS, he is presently Chairman (read top boss) of Pune’s & Pimpari Chinchwad’s i.e. PMC & PCMC’s public transport system formerly known as PMT.

Before coming in Pune Mr. Mundhe was Municipal Commissioner of New Mumbai & there too he went after illegal constructions, a subject which every ruler publicly condemns but supports, when it’s time to act. No wonder that he got transferred before his tenure gets completed & dumped at most unwanted post in beurocracy i.e. chief of PMPML. I said most unwanted as either govt doesn’t wanted anybody to get appointed at this post or the person who joins thinks this post is useless, so no IAS guy has worked here in past for long, rather many preferred not to join at this post in first place! But as Mr. Tukaram Mudhe has curse of making the system better, he not only joined at PMPML but started taking action to make PMPML better & that’s what made many people uneasy. Especially the rulers of the city got disturbed, who thought nothing in this city moves without their wish & public busses are not exception to this rule! Just to explain you the way Mr. Mundhe thinks or his attitude will share what I read in new paper when he joined… When the news came of his order at PMPML, the staff supposedly burn fire crackers & distributed sweets & when Mr. Mundhe has been asked about it, he candidly said, “I am amused as usually when I leave some post then only people distributes sweets!“ I think nothing more is needed to be said about the way this guy works! Well let’s see what was the scene of PMPML before Mr. Mundhe took charge…

Pathetic, is the only word which could have described the PMPML’s condition when Mr. Mundhe took the charge of it. And I am not blaming the people working in that system as there are some sincere faces in PMPML (even now) who are willing to work but the entire web of the system in & around PMPML is such that one wonders whether the rulers really wanted it to improve or not? Right from not giving a full time capable IAS officer as super boss to holding back the funding of PMPML every possible thing was being done by PMC & PCMC, which supposedly have to play parental role to PMPML. Agreed the public transport system has to be self sufficient by making profits from its operation but then you need to provide basic infrastructure. Even a kid needs to be feed & look after till it learns to walk on its feet & here we are talking about an organization which is supposed to provide transportation to millions of people. And what we got, PMC & PCMC has failed to provide even proper place to park the busses of PMPML, making them stand in exposed weather on roads, defeating the very purpose of reducing the burden of vehicles on the city roads. And without giving any support financial or physical yet we expect PMPML should serve the citizens at par with bus system like BEST in Mumbai if not that of Singapore! Decades back there were two organizations conducting separate public transport systems for PMC & PCMC which later were combined under name of PMPML. This was done with a noble thought that as both cities are like twin cities it will be helpful to have one public transport system, making it easier for operating its routes. But it seems both municipal corporations’ abandoned this child & outcome is today’s PMPML’s condition. Poor busses, worst bus stops, no schedule, arrogant staff (barring a few), rampant driving without following any traffic rules (red signal jumping is most common with PMPML drivers) & what not when it comes to bad service for the commuter, has become specialty of PMPML. Joke is its easier for any person to travel by public transport in a country like France where language is a problem but travelling by PMPML was more difficult as you never know the bus comes from where or goes to which destination & at what time as there is no time table displayed anywhere on any bus stop, if you are standing on any PMPML bus stop, so how you are going use its service? Worst thing was entire staff of PMPML was behaving like they are answerable to no one as there wasn’t any one who will establish discipline! Then there was issue of busses on contract which were running on the will & wish of the contractor & not by the need of commuters. Most of these busses were often standing idle as poor maintenance & yet rent was being charged  by these contractors, in short the entire PMPML was like a huge wooden castle with just façade in place & the core being eaten by termite which came in many forms! Biggest joke was the marketing or promotion tag line of PMT was, “Wat pahin pan PMT nech jain” i.e. “I will wait but will use PMT only”; means you are in a way accepting or warning commuter that if you want to use PMPML then be ready to wait! Except those who can’t afford to have even a two wheeler they only left to travel by public transport in the city; resulting every road, parking area in the city is occupied with vehicles & we have been tagged as maximum numbers of vehicles per head in country. And then to accommodate these vehicles what PMC as well PCMC does is increase parking norms for buildings making construction costlier as well build more fly over, make existing road wide that’s all! And on top of it we keep on doing jokes like having BRTS routes in place (that is bigger joke) but not enough busses in first place. We conveniently forget the basic principle of urban planning that, bigger roads is not solution to traffic but proper public transport is the only answer. And now with latest fad named Metro we think all will be ok in the city, which again is like mirage in dessert. To make public bus transport strong is the only solution to Pune’s many civic problems.

I think the kind of negative things written about PMPML in all types of media are so much that, the organization can surely enter Guinness Book Record with it! And it’s on all such background our cursed Mr. Mundhe took over as boss of PMPML; and with day one, as he is a man of action all hell broke loose at PMPML. Right from suspending people under disciplinary action to not attending meetings of elected members his all such acts were enough to rub many people (read rulers) at wrong place & in first three months only there were talks of requests to Hon CM to replace him! One look at PMPML’s busses, bus stops as well depots & you will know why people avoid travelling by our public transport which actually is face of any city! Right from making the PMPML staff a disciplined lot to reduce the losses of the organization & most importantly to regain the lost confidence of commuters on PMPML, many things has to be done simultaneously. And Mr. Mundhe is doing just that. The latest PMPML App on smart phones which will give idea about the busses time table & routes is the outcome of Mr. Mundhe's sincere efforts. Or else just one year back who could have believed that PMPML’s time table can be made available for commuters on smart phone click! As usual the rulers in PMC & PCMC has their own agenda for PMPML & which doesn’t go in hand with Mr. Mundhe's agenda so to block the funds for PMPML to writing to Hon Cm to call back Mr. Mundhe to abusing him , every tactics is being used by our elected members which are our rulers too! But high time by media & people to stand with Mr. Mundhe as a strong public transport system is the only hope left to kill the monster named traffic in this city & for that we need cursed personality like Mr. Mundhe (just the way Harry Potter, the cursed child was to kill Voldomart, sorry please read Harry Potter books to understand the reference)

Unfortunately people like Mr. Tukaram Mundhe forgets that in the govt system a person is judged by his actions & not by intentions! And what are Mr. Mundhe’s intentions, all he wants is what common citizen of Pune wants i.e. a safe, reliable public bus service which will make life easier. And speaking about actions let me remind you, when the patient is in ICU then you need to inject every possible drugs you have in the patient’s body; as PMPML is in CICU i.e. critical intensive care unit, all we have to do is give Doctor Tukaram Mundhe a free hand to make it survive & be fit soonest!

Sanjay Deshpande 

Sanjeevani Dev.

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