Start your day at 8.00 AM. Wear your coolers and helmet or Wait in the nearest stop. Start your bike or take a bus. Go fast. Stand in Thiruvanmiyur Signal. Go fast. Sun is starting to beat down. Co-passengers are brushing/pushing against you. Stop in the toll. Go fast. It has started sweating. Stand in Sholinganallur Signal/inside the bus. Go fast. A lorry is blaring from behind. You move to the left. or you get down and take a share auto. You are drenched. You enter the office compound.
Start at 6 PM. Same thing. Except that sun is absent, the traffic is much more and you are still sweating like hell.
Distance between Thiruvanmiyur and Siruseri- 21 kms
Time taken for 1 person – The average time taken for an ordinary person from Siruseri to Madhya Kailash during weekday peak office hours is between 1.5 hours to 2 hours per way totally averaging around 3 hours per day (unless you have a helicopter like Amma or you are a superman).
Major Categories of Persons Travelling:
IT professionals- As per a report, no. of professionals (mainly IT) working in OMR approximates to 1,40,100 people in 2007 and around 2 lakhs in 2012. Cognizant, Wipro, Sathyam, TCS… Don’t know what they are doing in Office.. So many people..
College Students: educational institutions in OMR include Sathyabama Engineering College, Jeppiar Engineering College, St.Josephs Engineering College, SSN, Hindustan University, KCG College of Technology, Jerusalem College of Engineering, MNM Jain College, Anand Institute of Technology, Mohammad Sathak Arts and Science, Arupadai Veedu Institute of Technology, National Martitime University, N.I.F.T. stretch having around 1 lakh students. Don’t know if they are studying but surely they are travelling.
Residents of around 24,450 apartments minimum, hospitals- Chettinad Health City,etc, hotels-Asiana Hotel, leisure facilities lying within a few kilometers radius for the entire family including entertainment centers like Mayajaal and Prarthana Drive-in Theatre, AGS Theatre, amusement parks like VGP and MGM, tourist centers like Mutukkad Boating Center, Crocodile Bank and Dakshinachitra, and beach resorts like Ideal Beach Resort and GRT Temple Bay. (approx. 1,00,000 people)… (Author conveys his apologies to those staying on the 25 th floor of Hiranandani in Siruseri and those going to MGM during the peak summer.. Really of all the places?)
Opportunity Cost– On a conservative estimate, around a whopping 3.5 lakh people commute per day in the OMR. On an average opportunity cost lost of around 3 hours on an average on an hourly salary of Rs. 200 (Average of Rs.45000 per month, 10 hours per day and 23 days a month) this equals Rs. 21 crores lost per day. (Though the assumptions regarding the average salary maybe a little bit on the higher side this is taken to include the magnitude of their travel and is offset by the higher cost of living and increasing number of professionals day to day).
Cost of fuel spent/bus charges/Share Auto– An average person spends about Rs.52.5 per day to travel (42 kms /60 kmpl * 75) resulting in Rs.17.5 Crores per day. This is apart from the depreciation charges for the vehicles/drivers salary, traffic police salary, if any, etc.
No. of accidents in OMR as per R. Anandan, President, Rajiv Gandhi Salai All Lorry Owners Welfare Association is 3 or 4 accidents every day.(Sympathies to the lorry and bus drivers causing those)
Cost of building Metro/extension of MRTS per km– As per the recent Chennai Metro project report, the cost of project is around 14,600 crores for 45 km line approx Rs.325 crores per km. Assuming similar contract terms, for this stretch of 21 kms it would cost around Rs.6825 crores. It may also be significantly lesser due to fully elevated development (no underground), minimum land acquisition cost and lesser number of stations. This computes to about a mind bogglingly low figure of just 170 days pay back period.
Other incidental benefits– Development of business and residential properties (Yes Mr. Premji, Mr.Murthy, Mr.Nadar you can build more complexes), safety for passengers particularly during late hours (Go woman rights!!), road safety(bye bye to Lorry horns), end to inconveniences of travelling in Share Autos and Crowded Buses (no comments), fully Air Conditioned coaches will be a relief from peak summer/monsoon seasons , Lesser Pollution, Noise and Dust, Increasing load factor to other connected networks like MRTS, Metro, etc.
This can be done as an Joint initiative between the State Govt and the major institutions like IT companies, educational instituitions and reality developers who would be greatly benefited by this facility (lower staff costs/more students/higher real estate prices).
Other projects like Flyover/Link roads do not really solve the problem since they do nothing but take the traffic to the next signal. Our Mr. Karunanidhi has built infinite flyovers during his reign and rests peacefully in his wheelchair whereas the ‘city’zens see their watch and look at the skies.