Adani’s project harming public transport in Mumbai

BEST Buses

In helping  Adani make huge profits through the Dharavi slum  redevelopment project in Mumbai the authorities are  harming public transport and also shooting themselves in the foot.

  In a shocking move, the authorities  have decided to close down  two  BEST bus depots at Dharavi  and the one adjoining it  , Kala Killa.  This will be a  severe blow to bus commuters  who  are already  under stress, suffering from the deterioration of  bus services,  they have to stand upto one hour for a bus because of the government’s extreme callousness. Plus there will be a multiplier , negative impact on the city at large and motorists as well and the Metro rail network.

 Motorists need to recognise that  an efficient bus service is in their interest, any depletion in  bus service means  roads will be more crowded and congestion will increase. Besides, the huge  increase in high rises that the Dharavi project entails will add to the heat island effect. A front page report in the Times of India yesterday  points to the disastrous impact of skyscrapers on  the climate  and  senior architects like Anant Gadgil have been warning against this phenomenon.

  So even assuming that the Metro  rail project   recovers from the disastrous shape it is in currently, we will still be in a deep crisis  as there will be few buses in operation and that will   erode the already  poor connectivity at Metro rail stations.

 The authorities are exposing themselves to extreme ridicule before the international community, in all decent societies public transport is being boosted while here  it looks as if they are out to  strangulate it , there would be no exaggeration in saying that.

  There is also a deep irony  that while the government   has  mercilessly cut trees, acquired  forest area  and other areas for  Metro  train operations, it is  giving away precious  land of BEST  bus depots  so vital for  the needs of a growing city.

  So an excellent  legacy of  low cost  bus transport we have  is being subverted  and we are being inflicted with  an monumentally expensive and highly disruptive  Metro rail network  which will take years and years to  yield even modest results.

   The authorities talk of boosting  infrastructure all the time.  What we see is that infrastructure for  a minority of rich people is being created, given high priority  while  an existing excellent   public transport network is being   systematically  undermined. The whole idea it seems is to  keep the working people under pressure all the time, give  them no relief, they are made to fight for survival, their backs pushed to the wall, so that their spirits are crushed  so that the  ruling circles continue to amass huge profits,

The result is there is a very big increase in the number of rich who are occupying all prime land in the city, everywhere one sees  shops selling luxury goods, while a shop one needs for daily supplies is far away, one has to hunt for it. 

Besides, even an elementary study of   public housing  in the U.S. shows that the high rise solution for slum dwellers  has ended in  disaster. Have our  authorities even heard of the  well studied  failure  of the Pruitt Igoe project  done by   Minoru Yamasaki , architect, in the 1950s, He also  designed the   World Trade Centre in the U.S.  ?

 In an earlier outrageous  move  to benefit the Adani project,  the government has already diverted  no less than 27 acres of railway land in the centre of Mumbai. . This sort or  robbery of public land  for the benefit of a few  must be unheard of  in urban history. The move will severely hit the railways’ project to  build new  railway terminus in Mumbai, the railway  now have to hunt for  land for the project.

 Another irony is that while the government  has spent crores of rupees in  finding spaces for parking of cars for motorists, it is robbing  public transport of its own, rightful parking space.  Can anyone believe this ? 

   The municipal corporation has  created  a so called parking  authority   appointing for its staff  several    young architects, paying them fat amounts and  in the end  has nothing to show at all for results. The whole project is misconceived from  beginning to end. It is not the job of the civic body to create spaces for car parking simply to  suit the interests of the automobile lobby, never mind the disastrous impact on children, robbing them of playing spaces, there are several other victims as well of this  exercise. Its job is to promote  public transport  as per the requirements of the  national urban transport policy.

  Clearly  our authorities   with their  crazy policy will create more traffic jams, more  congestion and pollution and make Mumbai unliveable..

 Vidyadhar Date is a senior journalist and author of a book seeking  a democratic  transport system, controlling the car lobby

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