Monday, January 9, 2017

What Shashikant Limaye said about media and activists on Pune Metro

Excerpts of Sashikant Limaye’s talk at Modern Engineering College on 7th January, 2017.
Please Note: I have nothing against Mr Shashikant Limaye. I have no doubt about his credibility and competency. My objection was that he belittled and ridiculed media which he said spread lies about Pune Metro and called all newspapers `Bhonga’ (some trash newspaper of yesteryears) and belittled stance of some activists and experts, who gave a view point regarding broad gauge, underground metro and the choice of route. Even when we got our Freedom, there were several freedom fighters and national leaders who went about different ways of attaining it so now are we going belittle likes of Subhashchandra Bose? Mr Limaye chose to tell the gullible students, that it is the lies in the media and the foolishness of some people who questioned the choice of route, kind of gauge and suggestion of underground metro that has given wrong impression to people. He actually said that those who wanted broad gauge, wanted to get trains like local Mumbai suburban trains where the plight of people is worse than animals. Really? How hateful can such a statement be. And he has given clean chit to the haphazard study of IIT Mumbai too, of Pune metro
 Please see below, excerpt of a part of his talk. If Limaye is sure of the impeccable DPR and implementation of the project, he could have stuck to his facts, instead of trying to say that all those who took up the issue for the larger public interest are foolish.
You can make your own opinion. 

Begun transcription from 12 (mins).42(seconds)
In Pune, gauge, 3 years there was a lot of discussion – standard gauge or broad gauge because people thought that broad gauge is our gauge. Broad gauge is not our gauge – we were slaves, therefore the Britishers imposed the gauge on us, which is rarely used in the world. They were so smart that they thought if we give them standard gauge, they will go to France or go to Russia to get the technology.  Give them a gauge that will tie them in our chokda (trap). Like many companies do these days. Like Mercedes or Volkswagen or Honda – their parts can be got from them only. So, this kind of policy no one has told to anyone. Deliberately when GIP companies came, they will make standard gauge. Because they already had Standard Gauge in England. They said India is a bigger country so we need to give Broad Gauge. Big country should get big gauge, so they acted smart and said make it 7.5 ft gauge. So now what to do? Business has to run? So they came to a compromise – in Spain it is 5ft so let us make it 5ft 6 inches. Thus was born the 5 ft 6inches gauge. Nobody knows this and unnecessarily lies was spread that broad gauge is our gauge and ….today Bharat is backward in the railways is because ours is broad gauge and in the world it is standard gauage.
Today, the advancement that has happened in technology, this has all happened in Standard Gauge and that is why China which in xxx was on par with us has gone ahead 20 years, of us. Because it got readymade technology of Standard Gauge and on the basis of that they have made advancement and China is selling speed technology to the world. This is the situation that has arisen. If we had been hell bent on Ambassador and Fiat, then the situation in automobiles also would have been the same. But we decided that we will bring in Japanese technology. And even when Maruti came, there was much criticism. That, why have you brought in Maruti? That there is self-interest and so on and so forth. But if Maruti had not come to India, then there would have been no jobs in India for engineers. Whether it be road construction or automobile manufacturing factories, nothing would have happened. Technology, at that time, took a quantum jump at that time. Now, India exports 50% of automobile spare parts. We should be proud of that. So, this thing about broad gauge is better and the broad gauge that runs in Mumbai suburban is an incredible thing. Now, no one in the world runs on broad gauge technology, where, in locals, the plight of the people is worse than animals. And we are so proud of that, that we want to get the same kind in Pune. That is now 50-60 years’ old technology.
Today’s technology, we are seeing in Delhi and Bangalore Metro – what comfort and what safety is there – how everything is seen through the control system. This technology is not available in Mumbai as we are using the same old technology, to which now thoughts are being given to change it. And now, as Rao Saheb stated, when on this technology, we had to change Mumbai, we had to buy trains from Siemens and Armstrong – people spread lies that the Broad Gauge coach of Mumbai’s local can be bought for Rs.50 lakh. The cost of that coach is Rs.5 crore that means cost of one train is 5x9=Rs.45 crore and the cost of 12 coach train is Rs.60 crore. We pay that money as this technology has to be got from abroad. So, indigenously, these coaches can be manufactured, is big lies. We have to import many things because we have never approached the subject in that manner – that we have to improve rolling stock.
Similarly, tonnage of axil – somebody said broad gauge carries more axil load (a bit inaudible), on what basis?…. Broad gauge axil load has not reached even 25 tonnes when in Australia and Canada, axil load is 32 tonnes through Standard Gauge – trains of 10,000 tonnes. We are nowhere near that.  So, all this information based on lies, which some newspapers spread, for this, I feel like requesting the newspapers, they should open their eyes and see around the world what is happening and then they should publish in newspapers whatever they want. If you want to give information to people, you should give correct information. In 1832 when the newspapers started, the objective was to give people, the correct information. Earlier there was a paper called `Bhonga’ and those who read it were termed as `Gan Dev’ – I think today all newspapers are equivalent to `Bhonga.’ So that is why they broached that subject
Now students should not have any doubt in their mind that broad gauge is our gauge and that it is written in the Veda somewhere that Broad Gauge and so we should adopt it, is very wrong. And how did Standard Gauge come? In Roman Era, the fastest vehicle – that was on Standard Gauge. This Gauge is more stable and there would be no problem for high speed. Therefore, Standard Gauge was adopted. This also many people don’t know. It has been lost in History and all the bad governance that Dalhousie did, people know. But we are proud of him because he gave us Broad Gauge. Hamara sabse chauda gauge.
Rao… students should understand that they should not depend on media and newspapers, they should study this subject comprehensively and by getting information from knowledgeable people, there should be an open debate and then they should comment.
Limaye – This discussion on gauge, I think when Manmohan Singh was PM, in 2008 only, there was a full stop to this issue. Because he decided that metro will run only on standard gauge and this technology, we will create in India and we will export those coaches. Like China has done. In Mumbai, you have coaches made in China. I think in Nagpur. Coaches made in China are coming. Hyderabad too has coaches made in China. All these could have been made in India – we have missed the opportunity
Rao – So, in newspaper when it came that in Pune, the contract is going to be given for coaches from China , then those who don’t want Metro, then they raised this question again – they do not know why China has gone ahead. But slowly we are starting manufacturing in three locations – Baroda, Bangalore and Chennai. And then we will also get into this competition and we will also we will start exporting to the world. Citizens are also asking whether we need such a costly metro system.
Regarding Ramwadi
1st issue – many citizens asked – that we will not get any traffic – that traffic survey is wrong – we start with that. These corridors have not been arbitrarily decided. No one from the sky has said that, do like this. 1998 – RITES, reputed railway consultancy organisation was the first to do the traffic survey and they selected the two corridors North-South and East-West – these are all projections. Then again in 2002, Wilbur Smith made a study on this, Span Consultant did it, IIT Mumbai did it for DMRC, IIT Mumbai again did it in connection with Development Plan. Means, altogether five reports from world renowned organisations ………….so all this is wrong and what we know and what we see only is all correct, but what is seen is not the reality and that is why the world is fooled. What we see on the road, is not based on technical knowledge. Here, complete count is taken, charting is done, OD study is done and after that we decide as to which corridor to choose and where increase is going to take place. So, this first issue that corridor selection is foolish and take it out from downtown city, take it out on Laxmi Road….because roads are narrow – tomorrow if I keep only 2 ft road, like it is in Rome or in Jerusalem, but there – there are not even 5000 to 6000 people, so narrow roads give you an impression, it’s crowded. It may not be really crowded. If you take out the bus statistics, that the number of people going, is not large…because no one likes to cut across the city anymore. Everybody wants to go on ring roads. They want to go fast. Secondly, people said, make the Metro, peripheral. Like a ring, around the city. So, are we going to go round and round? Everybody has to come to the centre of the town. And that is how the Metro is planned all over the world. And we are not some out of the world people, that we want something different. And in 1982, when Indira Gandhi was the PM, this was tried in Delhi  - ring railway which you might be knowing. At that time it Rs.500 crore was spent on it. And on that, no one person was found to be going on it. Finally it is worked for xxxxxxx bypass. First nucleus that they build, has to be in the centre of the city and then you start extending. .32 kms is not the be all or end all of it – it is only the start. Like in Delhi, in the first phase, in which I was involved, because Konkan Railway used to manage that – it was only 65 kms, that was from Central Secretariat to Vishwa Vidyalaya. That I think is North-South and East-West – Shajra to Tees Hazari Court and further on. That 62 kms was nucleus and as they started the corporation, they went circum…you can go anywhere to anywhere
The North-South corridor – PCMC to Swargate – the 1st part – PCMC to Agricultural College will be overground and after that it will go underground. Now while deciding underground, many things have to be decided. First, is possiblilites. Wherever there are possibilities, elevated is always preferred in terms of power consumption, angle of safety, angle of construction, …Shivajinagar, under the river, Budhwar Peth, Khadakmal, Swargate. Swargate Station will also be underground, There is no such situation in East-West Corridor. Firstly, Paud Road is 100ft road – 120 ft in some places. Karve Road also is 24-30 metres. In that, we waste some space for parking. I will tell you later about that. So, if minimum ROW is 24 metres, then elevated metro, is the preferred solution in India, even in Berlin. Here, many people had fooled (fasavla) people that metro is only underground. Arre, Berlin which is constructed after 1989 – after amalgamation of Germany and Berlin was rebuilt, it was majorly elevated. Dubai’s metro is also majorly elevated. And here, people, say, no, no, metro is only underground. Arre, why is it underground, bhai? Metro, toh surface par bhi hei. In Washington DC, metro is on surface. Metro is elevated. Metro is underground and again on surface. So, there is no rule like that. It is the question of money, economy. Techno-economic study. Another thing I would like to say about underground is that – people think it is hard rock so that it can easily tunnel-able. Hard rock is easily tunnel-able when you do the method of drill and blast for tunneling. Like the Konkan Railway. There you are in the jungle – you can do drilling and blasting. If you do blasting here, your building will start shaking. So you can’t do drilling and blasting. And many people take some names – xxxxxxxtunelling, this also needs drilling and blasting, only it is the supports which are different, that nobody tells….they read somewhere, aha NATM se hoga – kaisa hoga., rock kaun katega… basically it is a question of cutting very hard rock and in places where projects have been delayed like in Bangalore, Delhi or Chennai, they have been delayed only because of hard rock. Because of hard rock, projects have been delayed. The machine broke



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