Namma Metro and information

Bangalore Metro website reminds me of Navjot Sidhu’s miniskirts quote – they hide more than they reveal!

Flashy site. Colorful. Logo and all. On each visit, I try my best to find authentic information on phase 2 (Kanakapura, Peenya extensions?) and phase 3 (Electronics City, Whitefiled?), but I can’t. A possible logic BMRC may have is – publishing routes which aren’t final will lead to speculative real estate activity. But then, keeping the information limited to a few babus and journalists is more dangerous. Who knows, some real estate folks may already be selling pigeon holes based on the ‘best-known’ next phase routes!

Next up, whatever happened to dear Mono? A route map is available, but no update on whats happening to the project. Does anyone know if BMRC itself will be executing it?

Talking about stations, why do I see newspapers carrying more details than the website itself? Are they really planning a 1000 car parking garage at Byappanhalli? Will RV Road Terminal have any serious parking space? How do I know who is telling the truth when there is no authentic source of information?

Last, how about some regular project updates? Don’t need pictures, papers do a good job of that. A schedule, some deadlines, status etc should help. Why be scared when you seem to be doing a good job!?

14 Comments so far

  1. Naveen (unregistered) on June 9th, 2007 @ 9:32 pm

    BMRC has been updating their tenders, RFPs, current project status, environment assessment reports etc on a regular basis. Their responses to RTI applications and queries by the general public are also available on their website. The link is:

    I look up this link almost on a weekly basis. Monthly updates are given. There’s a Latest News link on their main page too. The sharing of info is more open than any other govt. undertaking I’ve been following.

    Regarding the future phases of the project, I feel its too early to start work on it as it will be more credible once they complete Reach-I within the projected timelines. If they start doing too many things at the same time, they may spread their resources too thin.

  2. Ravi (unregistered) on June 9th, 2007 @ 9:34 pm

    I read a recent comment by a reader who questioned as to why is the BMRC site so lacklustre and devoid of information. You’re now the second person raising these questions. A possible reason could be that they are professionals at project conception(execution is another matter altogether!) but not at image building??

  3. silkboard (unregistered) on June 9th, 2007 @ 10:54 pm

    Naveen, don’t disagree with you that they are doing better than most other govt bodies. But this is a big and marquee project full of hopes for the city and deserves to do better.

    Whats good about a mere list of stations. At the very end of that pdf, whats that cryptic note about “phase 1 is likely to be extended …” (see end of that pdf)? Why not talk about phases and extensions in a structured way? Or else builders will distort info to sell their projects.

    There regular pdfs on progress. But I didn’t find any note that talks about an end date for any phase of the project.

    Mono – are the routes final? BMTC – no clear mention either at BMTC or at BMRC on “synchronizing routes” between them. May be its too early for all that :)

    Ravi, BMRC has a good image already, they have done a good job of building their reputation through recent visible construction activities in the city. Just that they need to tell us more so that we can appreciate them even better.

  4. Naveen (unregistered) on June 9th, 2007 @ 11:38 pm

    Agree with your points but the way they are trying to disseminate information is simply too good for a babu-driven orgn. Surely there is room for improvement which hopefully will be taken care of in future. They even have land drawings for the Phase I, which are very detailed. I think that only a civil engineer can make any sense of them:)

    I remember reading that the 4 mono corridors have been finalized, this was said by the BMRC MD himself a few weeks ago. Donno if the report is there somewhere in their website. And the mono corridors are in synch with the Metro Phase I.

    And pls correct me if I’m wrong – Phase II tentatively is from Hebbal Flyover to Central Silk Board which will be extended on either side to Yelahanka and Elec. City in Phase III. Phase I will be concurrently extended from Byapanahalli to Whitefield. This is exclusive of the link to the new Airport from Cantonment/Byappanahalli and DMRC is studying this link. These are as per media reports and seems to be more or less true as BMRC hasn’t refuted it, going by their track record of consistently refuting any misinformation in the media.

    Am unable to provide exact file links because of my slow net connection but I’m sure that the start and end dates of each Reach of the Phase I have been posted on the website. Maybe its in their brochure on the News page, pls check as its a large file.

  5. silkboard (unregistered) on June 10th, 2007 @ 1:56 am

    Right Naveen. I fully share the excitements. I too have been following media reports around phase 2/3, Mono etc. I would rather have those details come to us via an authentic source on BMRC website itself. Why wait for papers to carry partly inaccurate reports and then issue corrections to them?

    I think I will get attacked by some now saying I am expecting a bit much :) But what to do, this is such a critical project for our city that I feel we all need to be clued in really well.

  6. Anton (unregistered) on June 10th, 2007 @ 1:24 pm

    I agree that the FULL details of the Metro should be on the company website. Imagine my shock on seeing the artist’ impression of the tracks on MG Road just a week before the ground breaking started!

    I realize that all kinds of protests can start over the difficulties that a new project can create (witness the protests in CMH Road) , but where are the checks and balances for these type developments?

    Item 1 FAR ratio has been increased in MG Road. Expect a Manhattan type skyline on both sides of the road, in a VERY near future.

    Item 2 Six ringroads planned for the city. Expect monster 8 lane highway carpetting the green belts of the suburbs. There’ll be more concrete than grass visible, in a VERY near future.

    Item 3 Permission given for 35 business hotels (3, 5 &7 star). This is just the hotels: imagine the allied activity and infrastructure flooding in, in a VERY near future.

    What struck me was that there were no indications or warnings(!) available in the print media. This set me off to hunt on the Net to check for reactions. At least, here, there seems to be no inhibitions about voicing indignation. We need to pull up the Urban Planning Commision on the lack of transparency and the details of the discussion that went on to reach the decisions. All this with regard to benchmarks, health and environment considerations, even aesthetics! Who would join me in stating the tracks on MG Road are a huge eyesore! I thought the Metro, Tube, blah! blah! blah! all ran Underground! Google “London Tube” to verify that it’s even called that: the “London Underground”!

  7. silkboard (unregistered) on June 11th, 2007 @ 7:31 pm

    Anton, I am so glad you agree with me. the point is about transparency. Not communicating with public early enough in the projects leads to delays due to last minute objections. Most important, keeping information private to certain officials is never a good idea.

    The cost to pay is noise as group X will not like idea Y etc etc. But thats okay. Knowledgeable folks can separate signal from noise, but the point is about encouraging full transparency and thus participation by citizens.

    Despite RTI and all, only regular journalists and high profile NGOs get to participate in any real sense.

    BTW, does anyone wonder why they prefer doing the elevated expressway to Electronics city over a Metro extension to E city? Which do you think is a better solution in the long run?

  8. Sriram (unregistered) on June 12th, 2007 @ 2:30 pm

    I think Sidhu’s quote on miniskirts was “they reveal more than they hide” and not the other way round as mentioned by you :-) In that context your write-up is in complete contrast. Not to undermine your intentions or the content…generally pointing out.

  9. silkboard (unregistered) on June 12th, 2007 @ 3:56 pm

    Sriram, actually, its neither that nor ‘exactly’ as I wrote it. What he said was something like “what they reveal is interesting, what they hide is vital”. Now tell me which abridged version makes more sense, yours or mine!?

    If you say neither, then let us make that silkboard’s quote :)

  10. Sriram (unregistered) on June 12th, 2007 @ 4:08 pm

    I rest my case.

  11. Padmavathy (unregistered) on June 12th, 2007 @ 9:27 pm

    BMRC is doing a good job, their work is showing more than their words. It is only preliminary phase of its activities going on now , once they get their required manpower , their work and show will be in full swing

  12. Anton (unregistered) on June 14th, 2007 @ 11:23 pm

    @Padmavathy, I have no doubt that the work is going ahead rapidly: I don’t think that was a point of contention.

    What we have a problem with is the non-transparency of the plans being made for the city. I’m not a luddite, wishing for a freeze in progress. I have no gripe with the Metro: it is an asset to the city. The problem is the method of implementation.

    We have become resigned to the ways the government implements its projects, but there is a difference with the present projects. These are projects that cost a lot and the results will be around for a long time! They are not like the crude statues being installed at various locations which can be easliy replaced when the powers that be finally realise the awful quality of the specimens now erected. An example of a high cost project is the Vikas Soundha: if this is not an eyesore that can give screaming fits to babes in arms, and cause little dogs to run yelping for cover behind the shelter of their owners legs on being sighted, I don’t know what is…

    The Government gives no details about how the choices are made, what the choices were and who made the offers. Also who chose from the various designs available, their qualifications, and what the pros and cons are. I recently watched a news report where an expert on Traffic Management from IIT Delhi stated that all the highways did not conform to International standards, with regard to medians, signage, fencing, etc. Apparently, the Government does not draw on resources available in our OWN thinktanks and technology pools! Imagine questioning the design of the International Airport at this late stage, and waking up now to the ramifications of the contractual terms given to BIAL about HAL’s continued operation!

    @Silkboard, you are pretty au courant with the nitty-gritty of the developments in the infrastructure of the city! Pity that these threads sink out of sight so quickly: maybe you should put up an Orkut Community on each project? :)

  13. silkboard (unregistered) on June 15th, 2007 @ 11:08 am

    Thanks for the support Anton. You said it all, I need not add anything more to that.

    As another example, take the latest high speed train to BIAL idea. 4000 crores to build a dedicated rail corridor that will not network with Metro? For than money, you can add 60-70 km of extension to Metro. Hope sanity will prevail there, and HDK will withdraw his knee jerk reaction.

    The thing is, all of us cant participate in decision making, not feasible. But we can certainly force them to be 100% transparent. That will automatically ensure things happen right. They’d have to say how they decided, who they consulted, how they spent money etc. And then, the competing bidders, or standards bodies or activists amongst us can react via call for discussions or petitions.

    About the Orkut idea, you will be surprised to hear that few like minded folks are working on something similar. Can leave mainstream and popular :) discussions for Metblogs. Will talk developmental stuff there, and will also try do something on the ground (petitions, complaints etc). Want to join in, please email me at silkboard :at: gmail :dot: com

    That offer is not for Anton alone, anyone willing or interested, please email. We’d be launching a beta site soon, in about 3 weeks.

  14. Anton (unregistered) on June 15th, 2007 @ 10:22 pm

    Hi Silkboard, thanks for the Orkut effort and invite… will proceed to register, toute de suite . Did you read the TOI byline “Is Bangalore now a slum city? Why the delay in CDP, asks HC”, (specifically Justice Rammohan Reddy). I love this type judicial activism! The judiciary is basically playing the role that the Opposition should be assuming, and is not, because of horse trading. Go, Judges, GO! BTW, the guys at the Torpedo site are back at the thing they do best, and no one, not the government, not the Page 3 set, not even us, are safe! Bliss, life IS good!

    PS Loved the article on the “automatic” choice on your website, and the hilarious comment about being “penny wise, pound foolish”. You’re right on the money with the post (fine minds think alike?): I’m running an auto too! Will contribute an assessment of the Schumacher style Tiptronic shift on the Civic (drool, drool!) if you like. And how are you with bikes? I fantasize about doing the Ewan Macgregor trip all the time and a friend actually has leads to bike hire for the same: Beemer 650’s no less!

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