Metro: It just got ‘Mumbai’ed!

Mumbai saw the newest addition to its glory in the form of Mumbai Metro, and it made every mumbaikar happy. But the sudden announcement of the metro was left for open debate. The state needed to show some progress and are under pressure due to the upcoming assembly elections. Started  construction in 2006, it was completed in the end 2013 after a 2 year delay. It is an astonishing delay, when you consider that Dubai built man made Palm islands in 8 years! The delay was attributed to getting the requisite permissions from various authorities and public protests.

In the process, Mumbai also scrapped further expansion plans as they are not happy with the Mumbai Metro One Pvt. Ltd., the contractor. MMOPL is co-owned by Reliance (ADAG) Group and Veolia Transport, and Reliance has got one up by branding the Mumbai Metro as Reliance Metro.

Brand Reliance

Potential gold mine in terms of branding, this is precisely where things went from bad to worse. A lot of local politicians went to metro stations and blackened Reliance’s branding. Tug of war between MMRDA (Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority) and Reliance finally ended in Reliance agreeing not to brand the stations and only brand tickets, which it rightfully can since it is the operator.

Even in that case, the brand should be MMOPL, the contractor than that of Reliance, the co-owner. They also hold the rights to brand stations – another potential gold mine for advertisement revenue. This is also being challenged in courts.

The word “China”

It is often a dreaded word – when you buy stuff from China, it tends to have a shorter life. Reliance choose CSR Nanjing for the rolling stock (coaches) even though Nanjing was never shortlisted at first place. But these companies were –  Siemens, Bombardier, Alstom, Rotem-Hyundai, Chunyun, and Nippon Sharyo. This change in decision were due to two main reasons – cost and Veolia is closer to Nanjing.

Rate the Price

The inaugural fare was set at INR 10 for travel throughout the distance. However again, Reliance and MMRDA, along with Government have locked heads over the price it wants to charge to recover their investment. Largely seen as artificially bumped up, the cost to construct the metro line one has touched INR 4321 Crores. If Reliance has its way, rates would be revised in the range of INR 10 to 40.

Mumbai’ed

Just three weeks after the metro was thrown open, the infamous Mumbai rain penetrated a Nanjing rolling stock from its A/c vent and the whole ridiculed the incident. I was asked by a friend to write about this incident on my blog, I guess it was a reaction in the moment.

The reason why I called it “Mumbai’ed” was because rain and floods are now becoming a normal phenomenon. More so, when I considered no floods on Metro since the entire track is elevated. Funny.

What is good then?

While I have heaps of praises for finally launching the Mumbai Metro, there are a few things that I hold my views firmly about.

It saves me time, and money. It is air-conditioned, and also keeps me away from pollution. It also saves me from the rude Auto rickshaw drivers.

Amby: The Worst End of an Icon

The last time I sat in an Ambassador was in October 2009, after which I never had an opportunity. I am sure all of you already know of Ambassador as the grandpa of the cars.

Hindustan Motors recently announced that they are stopping production of this iconic car. Of course this created a flood of emotions, nostalgic reactions and everything. But one thing that hardly ever came out was anyone saying “Please dont!”.

I am being critical here, of course. Everyone agreed or rather accepted to was Amby had aged and it needed to go down the memory lane because only rare few (most among them them were for Taxi’s in Kolkata and Kerala, ironically states with common political tastes and labor unrests) were even buying it.

Hindustan Motors failed to reinvent Amby in to something more modern. And I assume their last ditch effort to revive was so half-hearted. They may have the Royal Enfield path in their mind and create a niche for themselves, which obviously failed because they didn’t take tough stand. RE had to force through change (the gear leaver from right to left and upgrading its engine) which took them where they are. The Last revision to the car was launched in September 2013 branded as Ambassador Encore (read Press Release).

This is also clear from Amby’s introduction in their own words – “Ambassador – the first car to be manufactured in India, has been ruling the Indian roads ever since its inception in 1948. Originally based on Morris Oxford (United Kingdom, 1948), the Ambassador has been undergoing a series of changes, adapting to customer expectations.With upgraded manufacturing facilities in Uttarpara, West Bengal, Hindustan Motors Limited is geared for production of a more contemporary version of the Ambassador, with features catering to the needs of the present generation. Ambassador, the only automobile to ply Indian roads for more than five decades now, has carved a special niche for itself in the passenger car segment. It’s dependability, spaciousness and comfort factor have made it the most preferred car for generations of Indians.”

No doubt it has the back-seat that none of the current crop of cars come close to, but it was a product that created ambition in Indians in ownership and convenience. But if I am sad today that Amby is being phased out, it is because of how the CK Birla and group handled the brand.

 

Windows Phone 8.1 Backgrounds

Well I know for those who are regular here (hardly, after I stopped posting regularly), I have been busy with tons and tons of work to complete. But in all this, one thing that kept me busy in this busy time of mine was the Windows Phone 8.1 Update. It has got tons of new features and in all probability should have been called Windows Phone 9! That is the huge upgrade.

One of the many things that I found myself really hooked onto was the transparent tiles. So I decided to design a few of my own backgrounds for my phone. You can find all the 60 I made at following link.

Background Files – OneDrive

Screenshots – OneDrive

WP Backgrounds

WP Backgrounds

WP Backgrounds

WP Backgrounds

PS: I used the royalty free pictures from Sxc.hu website. All these pictures are copyrights of their respective owners who released it for royalty free use with conditions for any commercial usage.

Financial Assistance Needed for a Friend’s child

Update: Baby Dhrusti’s operation has been successful and she is recovering. Doctors have moved her out of ICCU and the hospital, and daily monitoring her progress. Great thanks to everyone who came forward and offered financial assistance. Special Thanks to my fellows at IndiBlogger forum who contributed financially and prayers. 

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A friend of mine (Hardik Nagda) is currently facing a crisis in his family with his daughter being diagnosed with Biliary Atresia with liver cirrhosis and is looking for Financial assistance to support the medical expenses.

Biliary atresia, also known as “extrahepatic ductopenia” and “progressive obliterative cholangiopathy” is a congenital or acquired disease of the liver and one of the principal forms of chronic rejection of a transplanted liver allograft. As a birth defect in newborn infants, it has an occurrence of 1/10,000 to 1/15,000 cases in live births in the United States. In the congenital form, the common bile duct between the liver and the small intestineis blocked or absent. The acquired type most often occurs in the setting of autoimmune disease, and is one of the principal forms of chronic rejection of a transplanted liver allograft. (Source: Wikipedia)
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