CASH-STRAPPED KDMT TOTTERS, YET OFFICIALS GO ON STUDY TOUR Cops rope in locals for coastal security, bond over dance and music
Kalyan- Dombivli Municipal Transport (KDMT) officials and elected members will, in January, visit Bangalore and Mysore to study the public transport in place at both the cities.
KDMT officials said the study tour was aimed at getting ideas for reviving the struggling KDMT, but consumer activists are calling it a waste of money.
The study tour, slated for the second week of January, will cost the KDMT Rs6 lakh. The proposal was approved by the KDMT’s general body meeting on Thursday.
The KDMT was established in 1999 and began functioning in 2001.
Initially, it generated considerable income for the municipal body, but at present many buses cannot ply for lack of drivers and conductors.
The passenger count, which was 85,000 in 2011- 12, has declined to 45,000 in 2014-15.
Thirteen elected members of the KDMT and two officials will be a part of the tour.
“This is a planned event which takes place every year. It helps officials to learn about the transportation services in other cities, in order to compare our services with theirs,” said Devidas Tekale, KDMT general manager.
“All members have been demanding to go on a study tour. And the members are supposed to submit a report of the tour, based on which improvements are made to our services,” said Nitin Patil, KDMT chairman.
Rajendra Phadke, president of Kalyan Passengers’ Association, said the study tour is a waste of money. “There has been no specific output from such tours,” Phadke said. “They spend a huge amount and get a chance to visit places. Then, they come back and prepare a report for the sake of appearances.”
Phadke said the tours did not yield results. “Where is the implementation? The civic transport body should at least consider sending people who have knowledge about transportation issues, instead of sending the members and officials. After all, it the public money they are spending,” Phadke said.
Navi Mumbai police acknowledged the efforts of those who helped keep the city safe, with a cultural awareness programme on coastal security on Friday.
The special branch of Navi Mumbai police paid back to the Sagar Rakshak Dal, Gram Rakshak Dal, police mitr and fisherfolk of the city for their help to the police.
The programme, held at Vishnudas Bhave Auditorium, Vashi, also had lectures and information by the police on coastal security, apart from the cultural programmes.
“Following the 26/ 11 terror attack, there is a need to be alert at all times. The police, however, cannot be present everywhere. Hence the need for local support becomes significant,” said police commissioner Prabhat Ranjan.
“Through programmes like these, there is better interaction between the police and the locals. They also help boost the confidence of locals. This is essential for coastal security,” said Ranjan.
“There is a need for residents of the coastal areas to be alert at all times. They are the first ones to notice anything different or suspicious in the area as they know the seas like the back of their hand,” he said.
He said contact numbers were provided to these residents, so they can contact the police immediately if there is any suspicious activity.
“We are p r e p a r e d n ow. Though no one can guarantee a 100% prevention of an attack, if it does take place, the damage will not be as serious as the last time. We have systems in place to counter any such attack,” said Ranjan.
Deputy commissioner of police (special branch) Suresh Mengde too attended the function and encouraged the local residents to help keep the coast safe.
“Coastal security is the key to defending a city like ours which has a large coastal area,” he said.
He said, “Following the 26/11 attack, an informal layer of surveillance has been added. Fishermen and villagers are organised into groups such as Sagar Suraksha Dal and Gram Rakshak Dal and trained to keep a vigil at sea and the coasts.”
“The police mitr (friends) and the fishing community are our eyes and ears. The programme gave them a lot of encouragement and assured them of our support,”said Mengde. (Clockwise) Artistes perform Koli Geet, a folk art form of fishermen, at Vishnudas Bhave Auditorium in Vashi’s Sector 16 on Friday. Police commissioner Prabhat Ranjan distributes T-shirts to locals and fishermen.