E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: The Ace Political Expert (APE) was taking a rhythmic walk in the Cheluvamba Park after learning about the new form of walking from “experts”.
With global warming, climate change and Bt Brinjal issues heating up debates all over the world to a new high, APE had quietly donned the hat of an environmental expert.
As we sat on the roughly mowed lawns of the park in front of a heap of sippe kadlekayi, I asked for his views on the proposal by “City Planners” to convert the JNNURM-funded Rs 14-crore freshly constructed bus station into a tonga stand.
“It’s an excellent idea,” chortled the APE. “No where in Karnataka or in India, have they thought of reviving tonga as the main vehicle to meet burgeoning traffic. We will be free from diesel and petrol fumes and the air will be that much purer. True, we have only a handful of tongas as of now. But when tongas outnumber KSRTC buses one day, surely we can easily solve the problems due to pollution. Of course, there could be some other issues….”
“Such as?” I butted in, mildly annoyed at his uncanny knack of looking for clouds on a clear, sunny day.
“The horses pulling the tongas will deposit some solid waste as they run through the city. But, mercifully, our City has one of the best solid waste management systems in the country which have bagged national awards. I am positive they will solve this problem in a jiffy,” he asserted.
“But the fact remains we have just spent Rs 14 crore on this swanky bus stand after inconveniencing the public for more than a couple of years. The paint is still wet, so to say. Why was this not thought of earlier?”
“There will always be ‘nay-sayers’ like you with endless grouses! What is 14 crore rupees when you have woken up and found you are going to destroy the environs of the Amba Vilas palace by having a bus stand, even if it is newly built after razing the old rickety one? It’s a pittance when you consider you have just averted a major ecological disaster.”
“What about cycle tracks? There is a move to create bicycle tracks on the City’s main roads so that people will be enthused to switch over to cycles after disembarking from their cars and scooters?”
“Excellent idea! People will automatically refrain from driving their cars and zooming around on their mobikes. Instead they will use cycles to flock to the “central business district (CBD)” and park their cycles along with the tongas. There will be no hesitation to switch over to cycles and to a bygone time and bygone era.”
“Do we have enough roads for riding cycles, especially main roads?” I asked.
“Of course, they will widen the roads if required, by chopping off trees which come in the way. I don’t think it will be necessary. In the absence of cars and scooters, the whole width will be available for cyclists, except a few tongas of course.”
“Since they have had a rethink about the JNNURM bus stand, do you think there could be similar rethinking elsewhere?”
“There could be. The subway at Sayyaji Rao road junction at once comes to my mind.”
“What could happen to the subway?”
“Look, I am no soothsayer. But with most people switching over to cycles, there will be hardly any pedestrians who would want to use the subway when they can easily run across the road. I feel one day, they will close one gate and convert this to an underground shopping complex, like Palika Bazar in Delhi. This will help bring revenue to the corporation.”
By that time, we had demolished the mountain of kadalekayi into solid wastes of their shells.
We disposed of the shells into a yellow dustbin, the size of a small letter box kept for such purpose in the park which draws hundreds of visitors each day.
Photograph: Karnataka Photo News
I read Churmuri regularly, and admire it for whatever it is. Normally I do not write any comments. I am forced to respond to this at 0020hrs at night, to dispel certain opinion this post may create.
With due regards to ERR (i do enjoy his posts!), i would like to inform the readers certain things as below:
1. Nobody is shifting the bus-stand. It was due to a communication gap between the officers and the media correspondents who observe the meetings for some time and go on to write some ‘interesting piece’.
2. All the senior officers of the city; the DC, Police commissioner, MCC Commissioner, MUDA commissioner and score of other traffic experts, who were present in the meeting, can NEVER take such a decision, which defies common sense.
3. Then what happened? What happened was actually a proposal to shift the divide the rural bus-stand into 4, to be located at 4 directions. (As it is done in all big cities). Along with that the issue of having city bus-stand near the palace came up.
4. As we have spend so much money, and there is no alternative, it was decided that, at some stage in future, the city bus-stand has to be relocated, as it can’t be allowed to exist near the palace forever. (The time thought of was 10 years!) The media picked it up, mixed it with shifting of the rural bus-stands, and reported as if we are shifting the city bus-stand tomorrow!
5. About the underpass etc, i assume that ERR was just having fun at the cost of administration, as most others do. Thats ok! Everybody has the right! I would request ERR to call me anytime, to get the correct view of the administration before using words like ‘Tuglaq’! After all, ERR and I, do talk over the phone!
6. I welcome serious readers to reach me at email@example.com, for anything regarding Mysore. i will be glad if ERR decides to put up the correct version. Will you kindly sir?:)
I can leave my cycle without any cycle lock at this cycle stand… because cycle stand at 14 crore rupees is way more costly than my cycle and hence way more likely to get stolen!!!!! Mysore people have their brains inside their bums!!! Screwing up my money!!!
Bus Stand is somewhat traditional and good looking now and also bit clean.
Namaskara Manivannan avarige,
It’s great to see bureaucracy with press into public interaction on same dais.
For others who are unaware Manivannan is a path-breaking commissioner who served at Dharwad where general public opposed his transfer to mysuru – but still politics did make him a scapegoat. He is doing meritorious works in mysuru now. One of the very few corruption free officer.
In recent visits I get a notion that mysuru really looked like a Nazarbad extension. As one of the suggestions came why can’t Mysuru palace become one of centers of performing arts like music or plays and kannada sammelanas like Karnataka sangeetha vishwavidyalaya instead of lousy people making a pradakshine of palace paying some entrance fee.
The maharaja can even preside over such events instead of some of fashion parades he is doing in bangalore.
What are steps taken to get back karnataka from carnatic?
I would really take this oppurtunity to even suggest to not let IT deliberately grow in urban mysuru and face real estate effects, i can see manifold increase in amount of migrants now itself; instead it would be a good idea to start extending towards kodagu and chamarajanagara.
Today, India needs a Tuglaq. Hope some ruler has the vision and guts of Tuglaq to shift state capital from Bangalore to some other town, for eg. Hoovin Hadgali. I don’t know why the state govt is occupying & operating from expensive real estate in Bangalore. How much rent govt. of Karnataka will get for Vidhan Soudha and other buildings it owns? Time to think out of the box…..
Manivannan avarige namaskara,
namma mysooru, tanna identity kaLkonDu innond bengLooru aagade irO haage dayaviTTu nODkoLi. haLE bengLooru eega almost hOytu. haLE mysooru kooDa hOgade irO reeti alli sarkaara development works kaigonDre tumba chennaagirutte.
Thank you for your comments, DC Sahebre. We are happy to note you are a regular reader of Churumuri.
Your comments in #1 clears so many doubts, one wishes this had come earlier. The Statement from couple of your colleagues as agreed by you this morning on phone, compounded the confusion even more.
Even now many people believe that the Bus stand is likely to move. A categorical statement that bus stand will not be moved will help matters.
It is my privelege to get your calls in the middle of night to discuss about articles that come in Churumuri. As long as you are here we will have this mutual interaction, especially on matters concerning our city, Mysore.
What was the IRR on this project? Did you use the same 10 year period in IRR calculation? If you did not use IRR how did you prioritize this project? I want to know if you have any respect for tax payers!!!. If you do not provide the reason for prioritizing this particular project we will know how much of your singing is true!!!
Thanks for educating us on Manivannan. Is he in the same league as Goswami, the best IAS officer India has ever produced. Goswami was Time’s “person of the year”.
More details on Goswamy at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gautam_Goswami
Manivannan Sir, Please carry on with your work regardless of bouquets or brickbats, as long as your conscience is clear and you know what you are doing. ERR sir may not be exactly critical when he wrote, but he may be looking at the funnier side. There is a beautiful song in one of the old movies ‘Amar Prem’ : कुछ तो लोग कहेंगे, लोगों का काम है कहना, छोड़ो बेकार की बातों में कहीं बीत न जाये रैना….. ಜನ ಏನಾದರು ಹೇಳ್ತಾರೆ, ಹೇಳಿಕೊಳ್ಳಲಿ ಬಿಡಿ…. ಅಂತ. By the way, there are many people, who think that Thughlak was not insane as he is portrayed but a person ahead of his times in his thinking. You know history, whenever anything new is visualized, conceptualizaed or introduced, people will always be there to criticize and find fault. In the course of time, they are proved to be wrong. When Indira Gandhi introduced emergency in 1975, lakhs of people demonized her. After 25-30 years, there were people, whom I heard saying that we need a person like Indira Gandhi. Narasimha Rao was buffooned, lampooned, mocked at when he was P.M. Now you can hear people praising him and attributing India’s progress to him. All the best to you and your good work. India needs people like you. It is good that you made your points clear by writing instead of ignoring.
Thanks for your Question. Though, I observed the ‘anger’ in your comments, I presume that your intentions are good. So, I take time to clarify to the readers the issues raised by you.
How I wish that all decisions in the government are taken based on IRR, and other scientific factors, as it is done elsewhere! Most of the decisions in the government are taken by the elected bodies, having members elected by the denizens of this country. There are various other factors involved when a project like the bus-stand, which is financed by the central government, proposed and executed by the KSRTC, and concurred by the Mysore city corporation.
The decision making process in a democratic government, is a complex process, which doesn’t always follow the financial parameters. I would request and invite Narayana and other friends to sit in the meetings (MCC, MUDA, etc) where such decisions are taken, so that they can have a better perspective of how decisions connected with public fund are taken.
In this instance case, the project was conceived by the KSRTC, and concurred by the Mysore City Corporation. The district administration, unfortunately, didn’t have much role to play in the selection of the NURM projects. Even the appointment of DC as ‘NURM special officer’ was much later.
We don’t know if the KSRTC had calculated the IRR. Indeed KSRTC intends to stay put in the same place if given a chance. It the proposal of the Archeological department to shift the bus-stand, concurred by the Mysore City Corporation Administration and City Police. Of course, the plan is to do the shifting at least after 10 years, after a consultation process with the stake holders. During the time of consultation, all such issues of IRR etc can be raised. It is made clear, that what was discussed in the ‘Traffic coordination meeting’ was just the PROPOSAL, as a part of the long term planning for the city.
Whatever, any query by any citizen, on any decision/activity of the government is most welcome, as they have the right to question, and such questions may go a long way in better governance. Thanks and regards. Manivannan (96633.69333)
neev kannadadalli maataadidare avarige enu artha agalla.. heLi keLi kongaru avaru. tamilalli maataaDi nODi.
Thanks for responding. In my forty years of life you are the very first government officer of India who comes across as totally unassuming and approachable. I wish India had some more officers like you.
I apologize for angry rantings earlier.
I am aware of decision making in India. I worked there as an employee of government of India. I am far away from India now and when in India,in future definitely would explore on the offer on meetings at MUDA, MCC.
Semantic meaning of a process dictates predictable outputs on repeated runs. If we had a process of decision making no matter who ran it and and how many times the answer would be same unlike as is happening now. In the absence of processes decision making becomes subjective and amenable to influence by vested interest.
If process needs to be idempotent, variables need to be controlled or forecast. So a good a process needs equally good plan.
That is where the problem lies. Indian executive does not do a good job in process or planning. This may be a result of of cultural baggage of idol worship or may be an effect of Nehruvian legacy of executive castration. In the absence of plan and process executive succumbs to vested interests and this may have forced construction of bus stand at first place without verifying counter claims on the land and once the money is pocketed another lobby is trying to settle scores or gain through additional spend on bus stand relocation.
Request you to please ensure such lobbies are not at work here and protect and direct investments of public money in least wasteful way.
And may be when you are free ruminate over the process part. You may then review your belief in the complexity of process. Things can be very simple if done rationally. Without a reason lobbies take over and decisions become subjective. Please take leadership to drive for processes and their compliance so that waste of public money is stopped.
I must say that from the picture, the bus station looks very neat and clean. One hopes this is maintained over the years.
If only we could learn from history. If only.
At the turn of the last century, there was this bustling metropolis. Many would say its impact on the world was yet to be established, but that is not the point of the story.
The point of this story is that this metropolis, was powered by Tongas. Horse carriages they called it. But, Tonga it really really was. (I invoke the – “for a rose shall smell as sweet if called by another name” clause etc etc.
You had to go the local santhey, call a Tonga.
You had to go to the railway station, call a Tonga.
You had to go to work, use your own private Tonga.
You get the picture? If “no”, then it was all about the Tonga.
These Tongas were drawn by horses (duh! but naturally!!). And them horses had to eat, and then of course, also do the kaka-susu routine.
Imagine if in this city, Tongas actually outnumbered all the buses, or autorickshas? How many Tongas would be there?
How many horses would we need? You know we can’t just step up their production like we do with automobiles.
How much hulu does a horse eat?
How much kaka will a horse do?
How much wind will these horses break?
But, hey, hang on…. some one, somewhere else has already done this research –
Click to access Access%2030%20-%2002%20-%20Horse%20Power.pdf
Dang that freaking other metropolis. Where did I put me blinkers now?
Thanks for the response and kind words.
I thought about it, and realized your point. The absence of a simple, objective process in decision making (generally), in the various organs of the government does give room to the lobbies to influence the decision. Indeed attempts to bring in rational ‘decision support systems’ (DSS) have not been so successful, as the objective process reduces the elected member’s influence in decision making.
In a democracy, like ours, the elected representative encroaches upon the executive realm. The executive is unable to curtail this. The reason could be the cultural baggage/legacy/callousness of the executive. This encroachment is more at lower levels (gram panchayat or Municipality). I agree that there is an urgent need to make the decision making process objective and transparent, rather than by majority voting. Thanks for your valuable inputs!
Of course, nobody has plans to replace the cars with horses (Su-on-the-road)! The thought of the commissioner, MCC, was more from the tourism and pollution point of view, in the long term. Whatever it may be, the discussion on the shifting of the bus-stand may be safely closed for now!
Thanks and regards. Manivannan.
ಸಿಸ್ಯಾ ಅವರೇ, ನಿಮ್ಮ ಕಾಮೆಂಟ್ಸ್ ಚೆನ್ನಾಗಿಲ್ಲ. ಒಬ್ಬರು ಮಾಡುವ ಕೆಲಸದ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಮಾತಾಡಿ. ಅವರ ಊರು, ಕೇರಿ, ಭಾಷೆ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಸಲ್ಲದ ಮಾತುಗಳು ಅನುಚಿತ. ಮೊದಲು ಕನ್ನಡದವರಿಗೆ ಕನ್ನಡದಲ್ಲಿ ಮಾತಾಡಲು ಹೇಳಿ. ನಂತರ ಇತರರಿಗೆ ಕಲಿಸುತ್ತೀರಂತೆ. ಮಣಿವಣ್ಣನ್ ಅವರು ಒಬ್ಬ ಹಿರಿಯ ಅಧಿಕಾರಿಗಳು ಮತ್ತು ಅವರಿಗೆ ಒಳ್ಳೆಯ ಹೆಸರಿದೆ. ಅಂಥವರ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಹೀಯಾಳಿಕೆಯ ಮಾತು ಆಡುವುದು ತಪ್ಪು.