A troublesome, dangerous and worrisome future
Many people think that there is already a delay of more than 30 years in bringing Metro to city. Even the court is no exception. This opinion is the outcome of Gobels type propaganda. Lets know the truth.
Exactly thirty years ago Government of Maharashtra had appointed a high level committee on transportation to go into the entire question of easing the traffic congestion in Greater Bombay. Then Chief Secretary K G Paranjape was the Chairman of the Committee. The report of this committee came on 26th may 1987. Point to note is that there is no mention of 'Metro' anywhere in the short term measures and long term proposals recommended by the committee.
No heed was paid to the preventive measures (demand management) like (page 3- 2•vi ) No new reclamation should be allowed in Mumbai.
The Metro -3 and Coastal Road projects will bring callous reclamations. A doctor was drowned in open manhole at Parel recently. Metro -3 will itself prove a huge manhole in which hundreds or thousands will drown.
The proposed Metro-3 tunnels will be at depths of 30 to 40 meters (90 to 120 feet i.e. 9 to 12 floors). What will happen if thousands of people are stuck there due to any cause or due to an accident? It will be a disaster. Will it be possible for the weary Mumbaiites to quickly get out and exit the deep tunnels? Even during the monsoon, the heat is unbearable, one can barely imagine the condition inside the tunnels. What will happen in case of an emergency? Hundreds - maybe thousands -
may perish. The elevators/escalators are dependent on electricity which can fail at any moment. Miscreants can indulge in anti social activities and commit crimes. Where in the city will the trapped poisonous gases (vent) be released? nobody knows.
Knowing that if people become aware of these dangers, they will oppose the project, the state machinery has not disclosed full information to the public. People need to become careful and stop having illusions that they are going to lead a lifestyle similar to that of Europeans and wake up to the reality.
Europe which ensnared the world through technology and money is caught in its own traps produced by adverse human and environmental reactions in the Middle East and Africa. see the bomb explosion in London tube railway.
In future, the electricity supply will also become a problem. Due to industrial-urban growth, temperatures have gone up, construction of dams that stop water flow have made the rivers dry. Every year evaporation rate is increasing. Hydroelectric projects will not get the required water. Coal used for electricity generation causes global warming and hence thermal power plants will have to be shut.
Atomic energy is not advisable for its dangerous radioactivity. It also causes carbon emissions as revealed by a 2005 study done by European parliament. Besides, the dangers of radiation, it is non productive (Oxford research group study), the impossible waste disposal and high cost are major problems with nuclear power.
Metro has already caused thousands of trees to be chopped, and going forward even more will be chopped. To get the materials needed for it’s construction, mountains and forests elsewhere will also have to be destroyed causing death of the ecosystem there. Nature is signalling to us about the upcoming perils by making the current situation unbearable.
Metro engineers and officials from Indian Administrative Service ask whether we want trees or metro? This shows the callous shallowness, disrespect as well as the utter lack of understanding of trees and other life-forms by these so-called “modern” men enamoured by technology.
There are a few crore engineers in the country and every year around 40 lakh are added. Even as human beings, the need for survival of these engineers is very low. But in the form of 'engineer' it is huge, and the Earth simply cannot afford them. The Earth cannot bear the burden of ambitions and expectations of millions of people educated in this fashion for even one generation.
People are facing trouble and inconveniences due to the removal of footpaths and narrowing of roads. Going forward, the construction of 26 stations of Metro, has lead to roads narrowing to half or even lesser from what they are now. Imagine the chaos and traffic congestion, the misery this will cause.
Public open spaces such as Azad maidan, Nardulla tank, Sane Guruji garden among others have already been lost. many other like 'Desai maidan' at Mahim are doomed.
A few days ago Nitin Gadkari said that the Mumbai metro project is too expensive and that 1000 Volvo buses be brought to the city. Yet, why are attempts being made to shut down the world renowned BEST bus service? If the fare of existing air-conditioned BEST buses are reduced, they will become popular and will be well patronized.
4 to 5 thousand new buses can be added by spending only about Rs.1000 crore.
Bus occupies only 4% of road space and provides service to 51% of passengers at peak hours. But private cars occupy 84% of road space and serves only 17% of commuters.
Normal citizen will not opt for Metro as the fair will be about Rs 110 or more. So it cannot be called a public transportation system.
There is a ban on the plying of public auto-rickshaws in the island city of Mumbai i.e. from Sion/Mahim to Colaba. Actually, there ought to be a ban on all congestion causing private cars travelling south. On the contrary, people implementing these projects and starving the real mass transportation are promoting vehicle ownership to the middle class public which is against their well being.
Transportation system of Curitiba in Brazil and Bogota in Columbia are world famous for their punctual, attractive and free rapid bus transit, which was started 40 years ago. Inspired by them, many other cities world over replicated the system for the benefit of their citizens. However, it did not happen wherever the vested interests of the nexus of oil, construction and automobile industry worked.
Among vehicles, the maximum carrying capacity is that of railway trains which can be made double Decker. City can also go for elevated railway. Had it been done efficiently, the current problem of transportation would have been solved long back. That too by using the existing railway lines. But clearly, that was never the intention of the Authorities over the past two decades. As a consequence each day about 25 to 30 people die in railway and road accidents. The Ambulance service becomes helpless on the roads contested by private cars.
Mumbaikars should understand the dangers and futility of the Metro project. Due to all this construction work as well as increased electricity consumption, heat will only increase. The cool air conditioned environment of metro stations, coaches and tunnels is made possible by transferring their heat to the outside air. This will drastically increase the temperature of the whole city. Europe could build metros due to their low population and near zero degree temperature. Now even they will not go for it as the temperature there is reaching about 47°C.
The incidence of damage to the helicopter of Maharashtra CM and others was caused due to the extreme heat effect! It needs to be understood that the reason for this heat is the rapid industrialization, urbanization which leads to carbon emissions and destroys the green cover at the same time.
We have seen the destruction brought about by the cyclones, hurricanes in Hong-Kong , Texas and Florida by T-10, Harvey and Irma respectively. We have also experienced the deluge of Mumbai on 29th August caused by just 300 mm rainfall.
Mumbai falls in the seismic zone 4 which means that it has a high risk of earthquakes. Below it’s surface, there are various layers of different rock compositions. Among them, there are layers of sand and 'lava ash'. These layers can cave in as floods, tsunami, fire or tidal wave can trigger at any time.
Well known earthquake scientist Dr. AKR Hemimadi in his book 'Earthquakes' mentions many evidences of elevations and depressions along the west coast that indicate the tectonic movements.
Every person responsible – directly or indirectly – for contributing to global warming is also responsible for the fate of the younger generation as well of mankind.
We are taking the future generations towards destruction and not towards progress due to projects like the Metro.
Worse, the cost of the project will keep on escalating in future. Other projects costing thousands of corers are in progress. For the past seventy years, these kind of “development projects” have not solved problems. To prevent mega disaster the Metro 3 project needs to be halted and cancelled. People must come out of their cocoon and express their opinions responsibly and publicly.
Adv. Girish Raut
Convenor : Indian Environment Movement / Vasundhara andolan