Here is the opinion of my close friend Abhishek Risbud, who is also a railway fan.
The MRVC rakes that arrived with much of noise on WR/CR, and now many more of them on the former had chinks in the armour. These were spotted not just by a few close eyes, but by the general public, which proves they were easily evident to anyone.
I shall relate this quality incident to one that happened for Hyderabad MMTS rakes. Those rakes, were also manufactured by ICF and were not as per the specifications of the AP Government, and hence were rejected. Not highlighting too much on this and returning to Mumbai and MRVC, there are a couple of points to focus on:
The State Government of Maharashtra, has played least or no role in this whole thing. This project is a part of MUTP, and partial funding has been by the State, though not significant.
It is hard to understand passenger’s problems like legroom, whilst conducting trials. But, when all sorts of problems put together were highlighted to MRVC, ICF and other concerned authorities, 68 rakes have been allowed to come in with the same kind of quality.
This move of hurriedly ushering in rakes, with the support of concerned governments seems to be a tactic to win the elections, but perhaps its not working enough for them, since a considerable lot of people are unhappy with the quality and is using them out of no choice.
Pacifying words from MRVC and Urban Development Authority comes from nowhere
However, since last 2 days, MRVC has suddenly started touting about these rakes and improvements in quality, through newspaper articles (Refer TOI Page 9 Dt. 07/09/09)
MRVC and UD Authority claimed to have met ICF Officials to discuss the possibility of air cooled trains, instead of air conditioned trains, and also to discuss the rectification required in MRVC rakes.
After a period of two years, MRVC has disclosed that it has used Cotton Steel instead of stainless steel in these rakes so far, which shows a gap in terms of money. So, we can certainly infer that the “opportunity cost” was used to the fullest by corrupt officials.
They are now suddenly aware that the legroom is an issue and have promised to improve it soon. This was something highlighted on Day 1 and through a lot of feedback campaigns and more so, it was the most evident thing in the first class coaches.
There is a sudden realization that the paint peels of (though no mention of rust all over the coaches), and that shall be rectified soon with a technology that shall make the paint last “longer”.
These and many more pacifying words by MRVC, will hold ground, only if they are implemented in the upcoming rakes. In my opinion, if they are serious about it, then the rakes manufactured after 10 Sep should have these changes incorporated in them. I doubt they are serious about it, because this cannot be discounted as a move to gain votes for the upcoming assembly elections in Maharashtra.
MRVC rakes to meet international standards
(TOI Pg.2 08/09/09)
Another touting article to make MRVC rakes matching international standards.
According to the article, grab handles, seats, partitions and coach walls will have a new shade and the ceiling would be cleared of clutter to “give a sense of more space and more freedom”. Wonder why ICF wants to provide this sensless space and freedom. Does removal of clutter mean removal of Fans and Tubelights or the blowers at the centre?
There are also plans to change the colour of the exteriors and the monochromatic existing interiors.
Even the flooring would be changed ( no details mentioned).
Also, may MRVC please explain why are they procuring 96 9-car rakes, in an era when they are talking of having all 12 car rakes and conducting trials of 15 car rakes on WR.
AND THE BIGGEST OF ALL…..
The first ”improved” rake will only arrive after three years, which is not whimsical but a statement making a fool of the reader. In the article above, there has been supposedly an understanding between MRVC and ICF to deliver 6 rakes a months instead of the current four. Let’s say come 2010 Jan, they deliver 6 rakes a month (being conservative)
Hence, the calculation shall be
2009 – 4 x 4 months = 16 rakes by the end of 2009 + existing 68 rakes (WR/CR put together) = 84 rakes
As per the initial proposal, 174 rakes in total, hence 90 more to go:
@ 6 rakes per month it will take 15 months more to complete the dispatch of the pending rakes, hence March 2011 or April 2011 maximum.
Three years from now, means September 2012. Wonder what special goods are up to be delivered by ICF in such a long period.