Not ‘Class’ Conscious
Most of us follow the established rules. But for Jayesh Ranajan, the Principal Secretary of the Industries & Commerce (I&C) and Information Technology (IT) Departments of the Telangana Government, common sense prevails over ‘class’ consciousness. In a quick chat, he tells how the Hyderabad Metro makes his life easy
You try taking the Metro wherever possible. What prompted you to do so?
There are multiple reasons why I chose to commute through the Metro. Firstly, it makes a lot of practical sense. Considering the responsibilities I hold in the Government, I am hard pressed for time. On a given day, there are multiple demands that I am to fulfill. There are several meetings to attend, various industries to visit, so on and so forth. Taking the Metro saves time. I know the precise time it takes to get to a station from another.
Secondly, I believe in utilizing the resources. When there is a public facility, why not make optimal use of it?!
Thirdly, the Metro gives me a window to connect with the people.
Of course, I still am not able to take the Metro to Hyderabad Secretariat which is my workplace because of the lack of direct connectivity.
Since you say the Metro gives you a window to stay close to the people, does it happen that people walk up to you and speak of their issues?
Yes, it has happened. The Metro route that I take frequently is, to the JNTU (as the Vice Chancellor of JNTU). Towards the last few stations, only the students and staff are present in the Metro. There have been times, they walked up to me and shared some academic, placement, and exams related problems. I did take relevant actions to address their needs.
Commuting through the Metro is convenient to you, are there also inconveniences?
I have not really faced any inconvenience. I am not somebody who gets bothered by the fact that I didn’t find a seat. Of course, there are only so many seats and several people who use the Metro. Even if there is an available seat, I like to stand and utilize my time to check my emails and messages.
Has it ever happened that you missed your train and got stuck on the station only to be thinking that using my personal vehicle was a better option?
No, that has never happened. The Hyderabad Metro is efficient. The frequency is quick, so even if I miss the train, I find one in another two-three minutes.
Travelling through public transport is a collective good at various levels as it helps to reduce the traffic, control pollution, etc. As individuals we are all aware of these benefits and yet we fail to make use of such a transport system. Why do you think we do so? Using the Metro here — in Hyderabad — means a sign of a weak economic situation.
We are a highly class-conscious society. We associate a certain activity only to a certain class. If you look at the West, nobody hesitates in using public transport. To be a global citizen, one has to stop considering class barriers. The rich who have changed their lifestyles for better should be written about. I know of the CEO of one of the largest pharma companies taking the Metro to his factory. Such stories should come out; will help others to use the Metro and not see it as a sign of poor economic situation.