Monday, May 30, 2011

Report on petrol price hike and its impact in Kochi

Study reveals 17% reduction in petrol sales 

A rise in petrol prices is not a new phenomenon for Kerala. After its deregulation in June 2010, petrol price was hiked eight times. Research states that in April 1989, petrol cost Rs 8.50 per litre, while diesel was Rs 3.50. Today, petrol costs Rs 65.6 per litre, after a Rs 5 increase on May 15, 2011. Due to public concern, the Kerala government waived off sales tax on the hiked portion of the price, which brings the price down by Rs 1.25 per litre. A study conducted by the Centre for Public Policy Research (CPPR) at various petrol pumps in Kochi shows a 17% reduction in petrol sales in litres after the hike and an 11% reduction in petrol sales in rupees. 

This hike in petrol prices is sure to hurt the common man, irrespective of class or creed. However, rising fuel costs is also an opportunity to promote the usage of public transport. An endeavour like Bus Day assumes larger significance here, not just to mitigate concerns of rising fuel costs, but also to promote the cause of sustainable development.  

Friday, May 27, 2011

Kochi Bus Day on May 31

Kochi is set to celebrate yet another Bus Day! The Centre for Public Policy Research (CPPR), with the support of the Indian Chamber of Commerce, telecom partner Uninor, and media partner Red FM is observing May 31 as ‘Bus Day’. Celebrities and politicians are expected to participate in the event, the route for which is the Fort Kochi-Aluva stretch. The event will be flagged off from Thoppumpady at 8 am. Both KSRTC and private buses operators will participate in this venture.

‘Bus Day’ will be conducted on the third Wednesday of every month, for the next three months. The state’s first Bus Day was held on December 18, 2010. It was flagged off from Kakkanad Civil Station at 9 am by actor Dileep. Transport Minister Jose Thettayil, Kochi Mayor Tony Chammany, Deputy Mayor Bhadra Satheesh, and Collector Dr Beena used the public transport system on that day, in addition to other celebrities, MLAs, and prominent persons from all walks of life.

A well-developed public transport system has been advocated by most advanced countries. Public transportation is a critical link to jobs, economic expansion, and quality of life in our community. Riding the bus is easy, inexpensive, convenient, and comfortable. It also saves money, and wear and tear of personal vehicles, while reducing traffic congestion and preventing air pollution.

‘Bus Day’ is a campaign aimed at branding buses as the best way to move about a city. It encourages people to leave their vehicles at home and hop on to city buses, to understand the importance of the public transport system in reducing traffic and environmental issues. It is definitely a call to persuade ‘well off’ people to use the bus.

Benefits of using the public transport system are aplenty. First, it saves money. Second, a person arrives at his/her office relaxed and ready to work, free from the stress of driving a car at peak traffic hours. It also reduces the need for on-site employee parking. Finally, it helps reduce traffic and pollution in the city.

For more details, contact Vivek Mathai at 9496326956 or email

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Monday, May 23, 2011

A drive to Oberon Mall

By D. Dhanuraj

it has been a sunny Sunday afternoon. Petrol price has been hiked up. Feel sorry about the politicians still play a major role in deciding the schedule of petroleum price hike. In Kerala, another hartal is over. Not sure how many crores we lost because of that hartal. no one seemed to have taken a stock of the events on that day, it seems ! i was driving towards city side from Tripunithura region. at Vyttila, i was caught in surprise by the number of cars taking right turn. My fellow passenger in the car told me that every body is rushing to Oberon mall to enjoy their sunday evening.

it struck me about the poor transport arrangement the city has. there are not many buses servicing the bye pass road. going to Oberon mall on any holiday tells you that the parking lots are packed and private vehicles are parked in front of the mall on the sides of the national highway. i do think that it is because of the lack of public transport facilities to that side, every one is compelled to take their private vehicles to go to Oberon mall. like hartal, no one bothers about how many liters of petrol is burnt because of lack of sustainable public transport facilities to Edappally side via bypass road. this is a good case study, similar destinations are plenty in city and we complain about traffic congestion without solving the basic issues.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Role of a traffic police man


Always surprised by the duties and responsibilities of civil servants in India. many times, their roles are not defined and some times they walk on a very thin yet blurred line of execution. here, my focus is on traffic policemen. any city in India, you can see them on streets and at junctions but they differ in uniforms and style from state to state. Yet their roles and responsibilities do not vary much. i am told that at many places, traffic police man post is given to the newly recruited chaps to the force just after their training. let them survive in the scorching heat of summer ! but i am yet to see a traffic police man on the street on a snowy day in Simla or Sri Nagar. but in Kerala, they wear a rain coat or hold an umbrella to survive during monsoon times. anyways, Kudos to traffic policemen for their tiring work and dedication !!

here the policy angle i want to discuss is about their duties and responsibilities. i have always come across SIs and CIs of traffic police in meetings related to urban mobility irrespective of the cities and states in India. the first invitee to such meetings are always the representatives of traffic police. though there is a direct involvement of traffic police in these decision making processes, i always wondered what kind of role they should have in these meetings and exercises. what is the role defined for traffic police; a facilitator or enforcement agency or the decision maker? most of the times, i found them sitting in the chair of both decision maker and enforcement agent and facilitator thus confusing a stake holder like me. what is the expertise and training given to the traffic police? how much are they updated on the happenings around the world in the field of transport and mobility? if traffic police man can do everything, then what is the significance of a transport engineer and mobility researchers? i strongly believe that the police department as well as the administrative session of traffic and mobility should understand the roles of every stake holder while discussing the new mobility plans for a city. most of the developed cities having better mobility plans separated the roles of traffic police and administrators and engineers and policy makers in addition to the role played by public at large. unless these changes are brought into the system in india, our future plans for urban mobility might look bleak.