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Old 4th May 2015, 01:18   #1
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Default Residents oppose land allocated for ARAI's crash test facility

The other day I came across an article in Pune Mirror (link) which invoked a serious thought process in my mind. The gist of the article below :-

The Residents of Kothrud, Pune have in protest written to forest department to reclaim the land allotted to ARAI (Automotive Research Association of India) on Vetal Hill. The said land of 45 acres is to be used by ARAI to build a Crash Test track in line with international standards and a building. The forest officials confirm the allotment of land and its purpose. As per them the permission which was applied in 2006 was given on the promise that ARAI would plant trees to double the forest area.


Residents oppose land allocated for ARAI's crash test facility-100000000000000.jpg

Now letís not jump into conclusion like the internet mob and say ďThey are trying to block the development of our NaMo ruled countryĒ. According to the India State of Forest Report 2013 (report released once in two years) even though there has been an increase of 5871 sq km in forest cover as compared to the assessment done in 2011, there has been an overall decline in the forest cover compared to a decade before. Development activities, mining and encroachment are the main culprits for the decline. And letís be truthful to ourselves we can first hand see and feel the impact of that in our daily lives, may it be the extreme temperatures or animal attacks on humans and domestic animals. It is then totally understandable that the protesters concerns include irreversible damage to the ecological sensitive zone, loss of soil cover and micro fauna and also the ambient temperature of the hill which is under threat due to such construction.

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But letís look at the other side. The side which responsible journalism left out of print and added up to my thoughts for this thread. Our country holds a disgraceful top position in road accident fatality count along with prestigious tags like the fastest growing economic and military super power in the world with more than 238,000 lives lost every year (link).
A large number of these fatalities could have been prevented if there were adequate safety equipments on board and if its structure could withstand the impact ensuring safety of its occupants. India despite being the sixth largest car market in the world is still the only country in top ten car market which does not have implemented a proper car safety regulation or testing programme. Only in 2014 government started planning the Bharat New Car Safety Assessment Program (Bharat NCAP) and decided to set up three crash test facilities by 2016. We all remember the NCAPís infamous ratings for several of our top selling cars last year which left us dumbstruck and the manufacturers scrambling for words to put out a press statement. It just reflected the large gap in safety in the domestically retailed cars and their foreign counterparts. The said protests then either delays the process of setting the crash test track up or results in relocation of the track which means even more delays. A lack of proper infrastructure when the regulations are in place results in our manufacturers using the loophole to lobby the government to either tone down the regulation or continue selling the less safe cars at lower prices thereby adding to the accident fatalities in the process.

We enthusiasts know safety equipments on our cars come at a cost and safe car saves lives. In my humble opinion even if the ARAI crash test track prevents a single fatality, it is totally worth the cost. So what do you think?

Last edited by johannskaria : 4th May 2015 at 01:40.
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Old 4th May 2015, 07:40   #2
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Default re: Residents oppose land allocated for ARAI's crash test facility

I am not an expert so forgive me for asking such a noob question, but I see so much arid land on either side of our highways why can't something like this be allocated for these purposes instead of a beautiful hill in a forest? Someone please help me make sense of this!!
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Old 4th May 2015, 08:22   #3
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Default re: Residents oppose land allocated for ARAI's crash test facility

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Originally Posted by IshaanIan View Post
I am not an expert so forgive me for asking such a noob question, but I see so much arid land on either side of our highways why can't something like this be allocated for these purposes instead of a beautiful hill in a forest? Someone please help me make sense of this!!
That is a valid question. The arid land we see either side of the highways could have been allotted to the Highways authority for expansion of roads(or for construction of TOLL Booths!! Maha Govt at play) Beyond such allotment boundaries, the land lying waste could be privately owned property. Again, this is just conjecture. It takes only a bit of political will to use such land for commercial purposes and leave the forest to swell.

Restricting my answer to the crash test facility, I see some disadvantages if the facility is located in such remote highways. Accommodation and transit hardships to workers is one of them. That said, whatever the hardships, use of forest areas for any commercial activity is to be discouraged.
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Old 4th May 2015, 11:11   #4
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I understand how the lack of crash test facilities may prevent authorities from testing and certifying cars. While these are under development / approval, interim measures can be put in place to enforce partial compliance, e.g. make it mandatory to have abs and airbags in every car. We don't know whether vw airbags will be better than maruti, but at least we will have safer cars in the interim. This kind of phased approach will be tough to argue against.
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Old 7th May 2015, 18:16   #5
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Default Re: Residents oppose land allocated for ARAI's crash test facility

While I'm all for preserving nature (and road safety too), all I can really get from this article is that:

1) ARAI has got the necessary permissions from the government to build on this land.

2) ARAI will be planting trees, as part of the deal.

3) Environmental activists are still unhappy about it.


There really wasn't any clarity on whether the environmental activists are suggesting that there is some shady business going on (w.r.t the land ARAI is being allowed to build on), or if they are just upset that the greenery of their evening walk will be ruined by the sounds of crashing cars...
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Old 7th May 2015, 20:01   #6
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Default Re: Residents oppose land allocated for ARAI's crash test facility

Or do we have some vested interests from manufacturers at play?? The more delayed such projects are, the more they can dish out inferior products.
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Old 9th May 2015, 17:35   #7
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Default Re: Residents oppose land allocated for ARAI's crash test facility

Quote:
Originally Posted by IshaanIan View Post
but I see so much arid land on either side of our highways why can't something like this be allocated for these purposes instead of a beautiful hill in a forest?
Quote:
Originally Posted by r.praveen View Post
That is a valid question. The arid land we see either side of the highways. It takes only a bit of political will to use such land for commercial purposes and leave the forest to swell.

Restricting my answer to the crash test facility, I see some disadvantages if the facility is located in such remote highways.That said, whatever the hardships, use of forest areas for any commercial activity is to be discouraged.
Its pretty sure government would've considered all the factors while allotting the land. But it is irony that the residents who are staying in the dense Multi story buildings in peripherals of the forest area is protesting it. Wonder how those building permissions came through.

That's not to say we should destroy the forests. But we have to find a fine balance between development, in this case the number of lives saved everyday, and nature. Anyday we should look at the benefits (which can never be monetized or replaced) and support the government. And even government of india says mass afforestation is the way forward to balance nature and development.

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Originally Posted by shiraz View Post
I understand how the lack of crash test facilities may prevent authorities from testing and certifying cars. While these are under development / approval, interim measures can be put in place to enforce partial compliance, e.g. make it mandatory to have abs and airbags in every car. We don't know whether vw airbags will be better than maruti, but at least we will have safer cars in the interim. This kind of phased approach will be tough to argue against.
I do half heartedly agree with you. But I'm reminded of the Takata airbags recall and the lawsuit of its victims. If you personally read those stories you would understand why it is better to have a proper and fool proof testing infrastructure and laws in place instead of a phased one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rehaan View Post
There really wasn't any clarity on whether the environmental activists are suggesting that there is some shady business going on (w.r.t the land ARAI is being allowed to build on), or if they are just upset that the greenery of their evening walk will be ruined by the sounds of crashing cars...
Quote:
Originally Posted by swiftnfurious View Post
Or do we have some vested interests from manufacturers at play?? The more delayed such projects are, the more they can dish out inferior products.
We humans now a days has a tendency to contradict all the decisions of the government by trying to evaluate them with selfish motive. Our tolerance level is so low that even 'greater good' is ignored and add to that lobbying by auto manufacturers , builders etc etc.

Last edited by johannskaria : 9th May 2015 at 17:37.
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Old 9th May 2015, 19:21   #8
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Default Re: Residents oppose land allocated for ARAI's crash test facility

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Originally Posted by johannskaria View Post
That's not to say we should destroy the forests. But we have to find a fine balance between development, in this case the number of lives saved everyday, and nature. Anyday we should look at the benefits (which can never be monetized or replaced) and support the government. And even government of india says mass afforestation is the way forward to balance nature and development.
There was no need to cut trees and terra firm the land to construct a flat track suitable for testing and for other building. We have suitable land available in plenty elsewhere. All the time and resources spent in such needless activities have actually impeded the construction of the crash test facility. Think of the lives saved if the Government had acted better.


Quote:
We humans now a days has a tendency to contradict all the decisions of the government by trying to evaluate them with selfish motive. Our tolerance level is so low that even 'greater good' is ignored and add to that lobbying by auto manufacturers , builders etc etc.
But the government has not given me any reason not to. When I am evaluating a government proposal, I would always assume it has a hidden agenda. Honest and intelligent people are rare in politics. For example, in this case, the debate of the 'greater good' would not have risen if the government or the ARAI had acted diligently. The permit for this facility has been filed in 2006 (from what I gather from the newspapers). They had started work on the facility only recently. While we can blame the residents and the environmentalists for trying to stop the construction, the truth is lack of political will (with a lethargic government to boot) was the prime cause.
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Old 9th May 2015, 23:53   #9
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Default Re: Residents oppose land allocated for ARAI's crash test facility

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Originally Posted by r.praveen View Post
There was no need to cut trees and terra firm the land to construct a flat track suitable for testing and for other building. We have suitable land available in plenty elsewhere. All the time and resources spent in such needless activities have actually impeded the construction of the crash test facility. Think of the lives saved if the Government had acted better.


I]But the government has not given me any reason not to. When I am evaluating a government proposal, I would always assume it has a hidden agenda. Honest and intelligent people are rare in politics. For example, in this case, the debate of the 'greater good' would not have risen if the government or the ARAI had acted diligently. The permit for this facility has been filed in 2006 (from what I gather from the newspapers). They had started work on the facility only recently. While we can blame the residents and the environmentalists for trying to stop the construction, the truth is lack of political will (with a lethargic government to boot) was the prime cause.[/i]

It is a government organisation using a government land. Like you and me have different opinions , it would be safe to assume that decisions would've been reached after much deliberations including that of economies and environmental impacts by much experienced people.

I do agree with your views.But opposing won't get us anywhere our country will be still be leading the chart of most fatal road accidents in the world. As a person who has lost two close family members to road accidents in the past 3 years, I would say let's get the system in place rather than seeing more tears!

Last edited by johannskaria : 10th May 2015 at 00:06.
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Old 11th May 2015, 12:15   #10
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Default Re: Residents oppose land allocated for ARAI's crash test facility

To be honest, the residents of Kothrud should, along with this petition, also mobilize crowds against the construction activities happening all along the western side of the mumbai-bangalore highway bypass. This includes all the areas from Mulshi to Hinjewadi to Pirangut to Khadakwasla.

Acres and acres of hilly forest areas are being destroyed for the innumerable housing colonies and IT parks (already the brunt is being felt on summer temperatures and monsoon rains). Why are the residents of Kothrud only concerned about a small walled garden inside the existing city?

The northern and eastern end parts of the city are anyway with low forest covers and primarily flat land - why was the city not developed towards those areas?

Last edited by alpha1 : 11th May 2015 at 12:17.
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Old 19th May 2015, 22:32   #11
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Default Re: Residents oppose land allocated for ARAI's crash test facility

Agree with you Alpha1, stupid Kothrudkars (I being one of 'em oldies!). As it is, the area is barren near ARAI.
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Old 19th May 2015, 22:39   #12
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Default Re: Residents oppose land allocated for ARAI's crash test facility

Environmental Protests and NIMBY (Not in my backyard) protests are two different things. The present case seems to be the latter one. ARAI could convince the people that construction as well as operation will be pollution and noise free.
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Old 19th May 2015, 22:59   #13
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Default Re: Residents oppose land allocated for ARAI's crash test facility

Quote:
Originally Posted by IshaanIan View Post
I am not an expert so forgive me for asking such a noob question, but I see so much arid land on either side of our highways why can't something like this be allocated for these purposes instead of a beautiful hill in a forest? Someone please help me make sense of this!!
Why do we need 45 acres of land for a crash test facility? Is it not too much? You need some straight track of 200-300 m to impart the specified speed to the car and a collision wall of specified mass and stiffness. By the side of this, there will be a building that houses instruments and other facilities.
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Old 19th May 2015, 22:59   #14
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Default Re: Residents oppose land allocated for ARAI's crash test facility

Isn't crash test facilities held indoors? At least that is what all the youtube videos say me. In that case the noise pollution is ruled out.

As for forestry concerns, there isn't some exotica that is happening exclusively there in the forest. One can plant trees around their houses/flat which are watered from the nutrient(!) rich sewage water.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rahul Bhalgat View Post
Why do we need 45 acres of land for a crash test facility? Is it not too much?
Greenery to arrest all the pollution. Future expansion.

Last edited by ramzsys : 19th May 2015 at 23:03.
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