An ‘App-less’ Chennai Metro, MTC

The world’s cities develop a culture of commuting, in which the trains, buses, stations, rickshaws and even pavements acquire a personality for the commuter.

 

I live in Chennai, where the transport landscape has been evolving without much help from the government. The Chennai Metro, a modern train system but one without a distinct identity – not even a bright logo – is experiencing a long gestation. In the case of the MTC bus system, the only help it received was during the JNNURM scheme of the UPA, when deluxe and air-conditioned buses were added to an ageing fleet. But the A/C option quickly vanished from core city routes and was either diverted to suburban routes or deployed in the upmarket IT corridor.

 

The other big cultural shift was towards shared transport, in the form of “Share Autos”, the description for 7-seater mini vans owned by entrepreneurs, most of whom have some political patronage. On paper, these share autos with commercial taxi permits are illegal, since they transport passengers just like the buses do, along a route, exhibiting major stops. After dark, some of them take even 12 passengers in space meant for 7. The culture of Chennai takes care of all that: the authorities levy a token fine almost everyday, which the Share Auto cabbie is happy to pay, and the passengers are grateful for the service in a global city where real bus numbers have remained stagnant for the better part of a decade.

 

These are familiar features of Chennai’s transport scene. More recently, Ola and Uber swooped down on the city, taking the hardened autorickshaw mafia by surprise. Ola even launched an autorickshaw service. The smartphone universe has loved all this.

metro-out
Nice Alstom trains, but too cold and remote. Chennai Metro at Ashok Nagar. Photo: G. Ananthakrishnan

 

But the promised icon of the Chennai transport universe, the Chennai Metro, remains a disappointment. It is not yet complete, and the first leg now in operation shows that it may be cold and aloof even in the future. Here’s what I think is making it obscure already: There is none of the excitement or pride of a major Metro rail system even among the people running it. In contrast to, say, Kochi Metro, Chennai has little visibility. No emphasis on identifying colour, no symbol. The only things visible are its barely-literate security personnel, who seem to have a sense of crude ownership of the system, especially since they are asked to do 100 per cent frisking. Like the MTC, they also feel they are doing passengers a favour.

 

Chennai is also unique in having a Metro with a First Class, in which you have to pay double fare – perhaps a global first, and an amusing decision, because Metro trains are intended to transport people quickly in a span of 10 to 20 minutes, rather than replicate long distance trains in which you sit for an hour or more.

What I would do

If I were running the Chennai Metro, I would have created a bright map by now, explaining to the public how it could be used in conjunction with the Beach-Tambaram and MRTS suburban rail lines. Nicely made maps are icons for the culture of the Metro systems, and I have had the pleasure of experiencing this in London, Paris, Berlin, Munich and New York.

chennaimap
Schematic Chennai rail map by IRFCA, a voluntary effort 

System maps, and smartphone apps, of course, flow from a visual identity. There has to be an emblem for a system, but Chennai Metro has none. It has a funny logo that looks unfinished, is not adequately popularised and is simply not found anywhere in the city, even along the truncated route it operates currently [Koyambedu – Alandur]. That is a pity because Chennai Metro has comfortable climate-controlled coaches from Alstom.

standard-tube-map-new
The London Underground is probably the best mapped system in the world. 

I would also have had a few meetings with the user public, which would have effectively brought out the fact that the AIADMK government has not thought it necessary to properly integrate MTC bus operations with the Metro stations, particularly in Alandur.

 

The half-hearted operation of mini-buses from some of the stations like Ashok Nagar and Alandur should have been replaced by a well-supplied system of small buses going to the surrounding neighbourhood, specifically called Metro Link to brand them. Since no one of consequence uses public transport in Chennai, such integration plans spoken about in the early days of the Chennai Metro lie by the wayside. Things are, of course, worse with MRTS and suburban railways.

Not a smart move by Chennai MTC
The S30 waiting at Liberty Bus stop on a trip towards Ashok Pillar. Photo: G. Ananthakrishnan

I use the description of half-hearted for the Small Buses of MTC because there is only one every 20 or so minutes, with no real time information on when the next one is expected. In some cases, such as S30 [Mahalingapuram to Ashok Pillar], there are only two buses in operation, so you might get one only in 30 minutes if you are lucky.

 

So currently, you have neither sufficient connectivity nor information about buses that connect the Metro stations, and the Chennai Metro itself is ‘App-less!’ Such neglect calls into question the commitment of our politicians to global goals such as reduction of carbon emissions and mitigation of climate change, through a “modal shift” from personal vehicles to public modes.

 

The culture of the Chennai commute is evolving under the influence of deprivation – of information, of service, of integration.

 

 

 

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Why do you think Chennai Metro is low on riders?

A report in The Hindu says the Metro operator, CMRL doesn’t know the reasons for low ridership. Obviously it doesn’t believe in commuter surveys even using their own website + social media.

metro
First world comfort, but poor connectivity. Photo: G. Ananthakrishnan (Usage: CC)
In my view, the Metro in Chennai, with only a small 10 km section in operation currently, and the full 45 km project terribly behind schedule, is more of a novelty because of high fare, lack of integration with the city’s major bus operator MTC (who should be running feeders from stations into the surrounding neighbourhood and to the suburban rail system stations). It was the same story with the MRTS in the early days when it ran upto to Mylapore. MTC did not care about such a facility being available.

I said some of these things on Twitter, as a discussion was sparked off by the news report on low Metro ridership:

One of the arguments was that if the alignment had been along the OMR, commuters in the upper echelons living there would have patronised the Metro more, as they could pay higher fares.

That is certainly true from a purchasing power standpoint, but OMR also needs mass transport connectivity because it is a growth corridor. It needs orderly development.

Since there is no one with responsibility to take a complete view of the city’s networks, all individual parts are neglected. Take my own case. I would like to use trains and buses more and feeders in between, but the costing is such that a shared taxi provided by an App-based company like Ola often does the job better, offering door-to-door ride in an A/C cab, at comparable rates during leaner hours of the day. At other times, they resort to surge pricing, which shifts the advantage back to trains and buses.

It is also interesting that in spite of losing customers to App-based taxis and unauthorised shared vehicles (“Share Autos” in local terminology), the state government networks fail to respond. There is no expansion, no demand assessment. That makes me think something is going on behind the scenes that I cannot see!

https://twitter.com/TheMetroRailGuy/status/720838728252395520

Meanwhile The Metro Rail Guy raised the unresolved issue of the Metro station in Alandur being hostile to the very people that it hopes to serve, with no facility to easily cross the wide GST Road outside the station. That’s something I have personal experience of!

Frozen in time, can suburban rail find a renaissance ?

The Railway Minister, Dinesh Trivedi is presenting the Railway Budget today. It is beyond argument that the Indian Railways will remain the lifeline of a populous India for a long time to come, ferrying people across States by the millions, and keeping economic activity vibrant.

As a regular user of suburban rail in Chennai, I am aware of the tremendous impact that these services have on urban mobility. But this segment of our railways has remained in something of a blind spot. The photo below epitomises the problem. The clock on this MRTS platform at Fort station has stood still for years now, invisible to the Chennai Division of Southern Railway, and too remote for the average commuter using the trains to complain about.

In a blind spot: The clock in this picture has remained frozen in time for at least five years now. Fort Station MRTS platform, Chennai, India

There is a servicing unit for automated ticketing machines close to this clock, which is manned by Railway staff. Possibly, they have no mandate to do anything about it. Would not the members of various Railway unions be disappointed with this image of their infrastructure and service? Apparently not.

In some ways, this clock is symbolic of what is wrong with urban rail operated in various cities by the Railway Ministry from New Delhi. It shows potential, and, simultaneously, neglect. It could be good working vintage, but is dysfunctional. Several elements in the picture add strength to this view. The information system is poor. A timings chart on this platform has been torn up, so you can’t find information on the next train. Access routes are bad, crowded, dirty and unwalkable.

Poor service and efficiency have rendered some good old train lines unattractive in a country of fast-moving people, and robust economic activity.

Unfortunately, the marginal efficiency and the comfort of personal motor transport remains attractive enough for many influential people not to intervene and modernise the suburban rail system. Only a rude fuel price shock can shake us out of complacency, and hit the vocal classes where it hurts. Change can then be attempted more easily.

Chennai MRTS, government have a strange information culture

This board at the junction of Anna Salai and the Chintadripet MRTS station shows everything that is wrong with the transport information culture in Tamil Nadu’s capital. A couple of years ago, this used to indicate that the MRTS station is just opposite. Today, it stands rusting and blank, no one to write the simple message that trains run from the station just50 metres away to Velachery, Beach and with connections to Tambaram, Arakkonam, Gummidipoondi and so on. This shows that no one in the Tamil Nadu government is serious about helping the commuter. The media is equally disinterested in transport information issues.

The rusting board at the Simpson bus stop, opposite the Chintadripet MRTS station.
The rusting board at the Simpson bus stop, opposite the Chintadripet MRTS station.

Can media focus save Chennai public transport ?

A spate of newspaper reports and analyses in recent weeks on the tattered state of Chennai public transport should ordinarily evoke a strong governmental response to set things right. The Hindu has highlighted the poor planning that could bedevil the upcoming Metro and Monorail infrastructure in this piece. There is some attention devoted to the crucial issue of pedestrian mobility that is so vital for the new rail infrastructure to attain critical mass. It would have served the purpose to also point out that even for existing suburban rail and MRTS, this aspect has been ignored completely, with very visible consequences.

A smartcard based ticket vending machine - the only one still connected at this station - fails to function at Chintadripet MRTS.
A smartcard based ticket vending machine - the only one still connected at this station - fails to function at Chintadripet MRTS.

That point is made in a superbly laid out spread of stories in The New Indian Express today. The story on the scary nature of MRTS stations is here, and the collapse of walkability in Chennai is here.

What is disturbing is that both The Hindu and The New Indian Express reinforce, subtly, the point that public transport options ought to turn a profit in some way. This is what The Hindu’s piece says: “Some Metropolitan Transport Corporation buses, especially the deluxe and AC services are also likely to be rerouted to avoid two premium category public transport services along the same road corridor” (emphasis added).

This kind of statement stems from the belief, even among some so-called experts, that the general public is entitled only to sub-standard transport options, which is quite the reverse from public transport advocacy in more mature countries. It is also of a piece with the view of the two leading “Kazhagams” in Tamil Nadu, that public facilities must be bare, badly maintained, poor in information systems and generally not provide comfort. This sort of attitude is straight out of the “Car Industry Bible”, which requires bad public infrastructure to exist, in order to keep attracting new users.

In the case of The New Indian Express, the writer falls for the well-worn argument that public transport should produce a profit. That the MRTS does not generate enough funds due to lack of station infrastructure, connectivity options and lack of service orientation is not sufficiently stressed.

Our transport operators and the media covering urban mobility issues would find it illuminating to read the recent interview given by Dr. Hans Rat, the Secretary-General of the UITP, which is the 92-country, 3,400 member union of international transport operators.

The key point that Dr. Rat makes in the context of service provision is this: “Transport Operators must have a customer-oriented service culture. ” The place that is doing that, he says, is Dubai in the Asian region. Crucially, it is able to get the best returns for the system because of integration. Bangkok, Hong Kong and some other cities are also moving ahead. This is all so different from the Indian experience.

What the Indian media now must do is to ask why cities that were provided massive funding by the UPA government under JNNURM with the caveat that they must have Unified Transport Authorities have put the issue on the back-burner.

Integrated Transport: What Chennai MTC told the Centre to get JNNURM funds

This is an extract from the Detailed Project Report submitted by Chennai’s Metropolitan Transport Corporation in 2009 to the Union Ministry of Urban Development, seeking funding for new buses. The report contradicts itself in this segment, stating that there are insufficient pedestrian facilities and at the same time considering widening of roads. If anything the report prepared by the Division of Transportation Engineering, Anna University, Chennai should have emphasised the need to segregate pedestrians by investing in foot paths.

The assertion that ‘integration’ is successful with the rail network, particularly all MRTS stations is amusing. What is your view? In this segment, the authors have also not incorporated smart ticketing methods as a tool for integration, which represents a failure. (This extract is unedited, and faithful to the original).

2.11

Integration with other Public Transport Modes

The rapid growth of population in CMA has been causing a strain on the existing urban services and infrastructure, for want of expansion and better management. The transport sector is vital and needs carefully planned expansion to meet the demands of the increasing population. The need to take an integrated long-term view of transport needs of CMA and to plan road development, public transport services and suburban rail transport as a part of the urban planning process have been well recognised as essential for the efficient functioning of the urban system.

As far as Chennai Metropolitan area is concerned, bus is the preferred mode by common people due to easy accessibility. Almost all major roads are loaded with traffic beyond their designated capacity. The V/C ratio on most of the important roads is well above two. More over the capacity is reduced due to poor quality of riding surface, inadequate pedestrian foot paths, poor lighting conditions and lack oof properly designed intersections.The rapid growth of personalized modes of transport vehicles in the recent past is the cause of serious concern. It is almost impossible to widen the roads further matching with the pace at which personalized vehicles are put on city roads. This constraint will limit the ability of MTC even though they may have a high potential to perform.

The recent large scale fleet replacement and augmentation by MTC is quite encouraging in attracting passengers from other modes of personalized transport. The Chennai City planners have kept the targeted modal share as 70 % by public transport. The target is fairly realizable when the metro rail network is implemented in full and the road network expanded by development of elevated highways. The total person trips by motorised vehicles constituted 54.5 % of all person rips made in the CMA in 2005. 70% of all motorized person trips by 2026 which works out to be 7.9 million trips/day is to be carried by the public transport (i.e 38.15 % of all person trips by motorised vehicles). With the implementation of 46 km of Metro rail and the MRTS together with the sub-urban network is expected to carry 30 to 40% of the mass transportation trips per day. MTC with the expanded fleet size of not less than 5000 and a network of BRT carrying about 7.0 m trips / day, the target is fairly achievable (even though the rail transit is expected to carry as much as 6 m trips/day).

The City bus system is well developed and is operated through every nook and corner of the City. The two well defined bus and sub-urban rail systems have developed on their own way, with distinctly identifiable patronage and as such are little integrated and that too only by default. When the public transport systems is expected to handle the bulk of the motorized person trips a need will be felt to integrate these two systems well with each other as well with the other modes and systems of transport facilities.

This integration can truly take place only when the institutional set up like the UMTA start working in full swing. It should go on to have fresh looks at the route structuring and aid seamless transfer facilities through proper modification in the infrastructure of terminals. Park and ride facilities will have to be provided with adequate capacity at all major bus and train stations. This apart, easy transfer from one route bus to another at important bus stops will aid passengers switch bus routes. Of course, all these will have to take place in the next couple of years preceded by scientific assessments. But well before that if the MTC can resort to its replacement and augmentation programme the city commuters will get into the right track of switching towards public transport system.

To keep pace with the increasing mobility requirements, a need to optimize the existing road and transport infrastructure as well to increase the supply of road and transport infrastructure is felt. As this alone will not meet the requirements of the future a suitable transportation strategy is evolved in the Master plan. According to this Moving people rather than vehicles is stressed. Hence the role of both the rail and bus transits is to be redefined so that they move the bulk of the travel demand in the metropolis. The strategy includes within itself

  • Augmenting the coverage and capacity of the rail and bus transits resulting in higher accessibility and mobility to the commuters.
  • Removing bottlenecks in the rail transit and bus transit networks i.e., replacing road / rail level crossings by underpasses / overpasses, providing flyovers at critical road intersections
  • Priority for bus transit by reservation of lanes along major arterial roads and priority at traffic signals
  • Making the transit system affordable to all segments of the commuting population by differential pricing commensurate with the level of service at the same time reducing the gap between the cost of operation and revenue and
  • Running mini-buses between railway stations and nearby bus transit corridors and between railway stations and residential areas.

After implementation of the above in a phased manner, it will be possible that both to find rail transit and road transit are complementing each other with ultimate motive to cater the transport needs o the public of Chennai Metropolitan area.

At present the inter-modal co-ordination is successful in important railway stations such as Central, Egmore, Beach, Park Station, Avadi, Ambattur, Perambur, Chrompet, Tambaram and to some extent at all MRTS stations.

In this way after the improvement of road network and induction of additional passenger friendly and eco-friendly buses in Metropolitan Transport Corporation Ltd, both the rail and road network will be serving the public of CMA to the maximum level thereby attracting the users of private modes also the the public transport modes and achieving the modal split.

Can Chennai MRTS be made safe?

The Hindu recently ran a full-length feature on security in Chennai’s Mass Rapid Transit Stations, in the backdrop of a mugging in South Chennai. That is a welcome look at the state of the systems in operation in an expensive rail network in a metropolitan city. Unfortunately, such issues do not get sustained coverage. What has been the response of the official machinery to the one-off feature? Is there scope to break the problem down into separate parts and analyse each ? For instance, lighting, availability of compatible commercial activity that attracts visitors and ensures presence of shopkeepers at all times?

A useful primer is provided by UITP, the international union of transport operators in this document (pdf). Arguably, the most important point is for the transport provider — and by extension the government which runs it in many cases — to make security an integral part of customer service. Enough leads to investigate the state of the MRTS and suburban network here.

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RTI appeal: MTC adamant, unwilling to consider precedents

We filed an appeal on August 25, 2010 with the Appellate Authority of the Metropolitan Transport Corporation, Chennai, on the refusal of information by the Public Information Officer. The appeal is reproduced below, since it contains many citations that might be usefully discussed by the RTI community.

Such efforts can only be strengthened if the large community of commuters in Chennai get together and demand transparency in the working of the MTC.

The Managing Director
Metropolitan Transport Corporation
Pallavan House, Chennai 600002

Dear Sir,

Appeal filed under Right to Information Act, 2005, Please look at your reply to my application, your ref No. 37203/RTI/MTC/2010 Dated 10-08-2010
With reference to above reply, I would like to inform you that the Public Information Officer of the Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) has seriously erred in interpreting the Right to Information Act provisions and wrongly denied my request for specific information. I hereby appeal that you review and reverse the decision of the PIO for reasons that follow, and provide me full information as sought.

The PIO has refused to provide information for three questions, detailed below and contained in my petition, citing exemption under Section 8 (1) (d). He has not provided a proper answer to question No. 5 of my petition, and has written something unintelligible.

I had asked for a copy (including electronic copy, as an alternative), of the Detailed Project Report of the MTC, submitted to the Ministry of Urban Development for grant assistance under JNNURM funding.

I reproduce the questions for your ready reference:

1. Provide a copy of the Detailed Project Report submitted by MTC to the Ministry of Urban Development or other authority, for assistance to acquire and operate buses under the JNNURM scheme (as required under Ministry of Urban Development regulations). You can also send the DPR copy electronically as a PDF document by  email.

(Question 2 answered)

3. How many buses are under JNNURM grant, and what is the value of the grant in financial terms?

4. Do the JNNURM grant conditions stipulate that the buses should only be operated in the city covered by DPR, and not diverted for other use?

5. Has MTC attended any meeting of a newly formed Transport Regulatory Authority in Chennai during 2008-10? If yes, what was the decision taken on integrating rail and bus service in Chennai, as required under Ministry of Urban Development’s Total Mobility Plan covering JNNURM assistance? (No answer received, only unintelligible response)

I have to contend that your PIO’s resort to the exemption under S. 8 (1) (d) to deny answers to Questions 1, 3 and 4 is erroneous, for the following reasons.

The MTC is a monopoly public entity owned by the Government of Tamil Nadu, with no scope for competitive commercial activity within the city of Chennai. It is accountable to the legislature of the State, has no commercial secrets that the public should not know. It is not engaged in creation of intellectual property which is sought to be deployed for profit within the meaning of the Right to Information Act.

Your mandate is to provide people-friendly bus service to the city of Chennai in the public interest, for which you derive funds from the Government of Tamil Nadu and fare income from passengers. The MTC is therefore funded by the public. These sources form the dominant part of your operational funding, and as a monopoly, you have no commercial disadvantage of any kind (as defined in the RTI for a Third Party) in highlighting your operational information and plans for public service. If anything, such information will aid the public to strengthen the plans of the government and create goodwill for enhanced funding of bus service, fulfilling the scope of JNNURM and National Urban Transport Policy and also the aims of the State government.

MTC also has no fiduciary relationship with any profit-seeking entity, as it is a wholly government-owned undertaking.

Please note that your PIO has not explained the reasons for denial of information, or how the disclosure of the requested information would affect the commercial interests of MTC. Such explanation is called for by law. You are requested to peruse the order of the Central Information Commission in R. Venkataraman v. IOCL, decision dated 24-06-2009 in this regard. The CIC has in that case directed the disclosure of information and pulled up the PIO for not offering reasons for denial.

Also, your DPR has already been submitted to the funding agency, and disclosure of the information will in no way affect its commercial scope, if any. You have no patents on any of the designs involved, or other exclusive intellectual property that is protected by law.

In Qayyum Mohammad, Sidhi v. NTPC Limited, the Central Information Commission (Appeal No. CIC / MA / A / 2007 / 00625 dated 3-12-2007) has specifically quashed the denial of request for copy of a Project Report under Section 8 (1) (d), holding that there is no justification for not putting such study reports in public domain, especially when a large number of people are likely to be affected due to execution of the relevant projects. I contend that the same principle be applied to MTC DPR, since it is being paid for by the citizens of India, and envisages expansion of bus service affecting a large number of citizens in Chennai and suburbs. It is fully in the public interest.

As you are well aware, the Right to Information Act was enacted by the Government of India with the goal of increasing transparency in the administration at all levels, reducing corruption and making public services accountable and accessible to the citizens.

The scope of section 8 (1) (d) is only to protect intellectual property that has commercial implications for any entity, including a public sector entity, in terms of its anticipated revenue performance, garnering of profits, sale of IP rights and so on.

In the case of the Detailed Project Report for special JNNURM grant, as envisaged by the Union Urban Development Ministry and publicised on its website, the scope of the document is to assess the present performance of the service provider, and outline the future scope of service provision while making an application for grant funding. This is a perspective plan, and contains no exclusive commercial information that is likely to affect your earnings or give someone a competitive advantage over you, more so since you are a monopoly. What is more, the grant is to be funded by the taxpayer, who has every right to be kept informed about how his tax funds remitted to government are being spent.

In fact, it is contended that MTC, as a tax-funded entity, should have put up this document suo motu, under Section 4 (1) (b), (c) and (d). You may note the relevant provision of the law: publish all relevant facts while formulating important policies or announcing the decisions which affect public; and It shall be a constant endeavour of every public authority to take steps in accordance with the requirements of clause (b) of sub-section (1) to provide as much information suo motu to the public at regular intervals through various means of communications, including internet, so that the public have minimum resort to the use of this Act to obtain information.

It is to be noted that the MTC PIO has totally misread or misunderstood the provision of Sec 8 (1) (d) because other transport corporations, including commercial undertakings such as Indore City Transport Services Limited are available on the Internet, freely accessible to the general public.
See Indore City Bus DPR here http://www.citybusindore.com/pdf/Draft-DPR.pdf
Ahmedabad DPR on Bus Rapid Transit system here (link since removed) and now available here
Pune BRT DPR here http://www.pcmcindia.in/ESMF%20Report/Executive%20Summary.pdf

I would like to point out that MTC has not even complied with the basic requirement of the law since it came into force, which is to publish information on the corporation website under Section 4 (1) as mandated under pro-active disclosure clauses. Only a search on the Internet reveals the presence of a Section 4 document under RTI for the MTC, and it is not displayed to the public on your website. It is also not clear whether it has been updated to be current. You are requested to comply with this section of the Act without delay.

Your attention is also drawn to the Union Ministry publishing key aspects to be covered by the DPR, such as features of buses to be purchased under JNNURM grant, and the model of service provision, maintenance of buses and compliance with the Centre’s Urban Transport Policy. This document is in the public domain on the website of the Union Urban Development Ministry at this location: http://jnnurm.nic.in/nurmudweb/FOB/buses_funding.pdf

The Government of India has repeatedly affirmed that it is committed to transparent functioning and accountability in use of public funds, as envisaged in the Constitution, and in the Right to Information Act. JNNURM funding falls totally under the ambit of public projects, as it is used in a public service, and is entirely in the public interest. You are required to disclose information under Section 8 (1) (d) under the public interest provision, even if it is otherwise covered by the Third Party commercial clause.

Without prejudice to my above claim in the public interest, I would like to state that your PIO has violated the provisions of the RTI Act by denying the DPR in toto, when there are precedents to show that even where commercial interests are involved, other parts of a document are not covered by the exemption granted by Sec 8 (1) (d). I am citing this merely to reinforce the point that your PIO has not considered my application with an open mind, and in the public interest, but rejected my request arbitrarily.

In Navroz Mody v. Mumbai Port Trust, the Central Information Commission held that even where there is a confidentiality clause in an agreement, such agreement could not be withheld wholesale, without making a determination whether there are parts which are confidential and others that are not. (Appeal No. CIC / AT / A / 2009 / 009964).

I contend that since your PIO has not assigned any reason and denied all information pertaining to the DPR, he has considered my application with the pre-determined conclusion not to disclose any information at all. This is clearly unacceptable and violative of my citizen’s rights under the RTI Act. It also violates the principle of public interest and natural justice for citizens.

Now therefore, you are requested to reverse the decision of the PIO and provide a copy of the Detailed Project Report for funding of buses under JNNURM either as paper copy or as an electronic file in Portable Document Format.

As the information sought has not been provided within the stipulated time of 30 days based on a wrong reading of the provisions, no further charges are payable to you to get a copy of it.
You are also requested to provide information relating to question number 5 in the original petition, as the PIO has failed to do so.

Thanking you,

Sincerely,

G.Ananthakrishnan

Stranded pax: Why no MTC backup for MRTS?

Today, The Hindu reports that MRTS passengers were without service for two hours at mylapore, because of a cable snapping episode. We must ask why the transport regulator did not have any arrangements to help. Already, passengers are being deprived of bus access in MRTS Stations.

If the regulator had taken steps to ensure that the problem would not be so severe. Will the union ministry of urban development take note when giving fresh JNNURM FUNDING to Chennai?

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