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Govt preparing comprehensive mobility plans for 500 cities

The government is in the process of preparing comprehensive mobility plans for 500 cities, having population of more than one lakh.
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The government is in the process of preparing comprehensive mobility plans for 500 cities, having population of more than one lakh.

Addressing the Inaugural Session of the CII International Conference on Mass Urban Transportation in New Delhi recently, Shankar Agarwal, Secretary – Urban Development, Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India mentioned that the Government is currently in the process of preparing Comprehensive Mobility Plans for 500 cities, having population of more than 100,000. As a part of these schemes, Government would provide finance up to 50 percent for preparing Detailed Project Report (DPR). He also emphasized upon the Government’s commitment to come up with Smart Planning for Indian urban mobility. This, he said, became even more pertinent in the wake of the fact that simultaneously with rapid urbanization, we are also witnessing rapid growth of motorized transport. As our fuel import bill is already very high, expedient interventions were the need of the hour. One of the key focus areas, as per Agarwal, would be setting up Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS) across cities.

Sharing his perspectives, Chittaranjan Kumar Khetan, Joint Secretary – Union Ministry of Urban Development shared with the audience that the National Urban Transport Policy, 2006 is currently under revision by the Ministry. At present, he said, 231 Kms of Metro is already under operation. In terms of upcoming projects, 511 kms is under construction and 529 kms is under consideration of the Government, including 331 Kms of RRTS (Regional Rapid Transit Systems), increasing mobility between Delhi-NCR and surrounding areas. Further, 15,485 buses have been sanctioned for 61 mission cities with an estimated cost of Rs 4,724 crore. He also brought out the need for greater harmonization between different levels of Government in view of the fact that as per our constitution, transport infrastructure and services is with the States and Urban Local Bodies (ULBs).

Earlier, in his presentation, Dr. O P Agarwal, Director General, Indian Urban Transport highlighted upon the need for integration of not only different transport subsystems but also the land use and transport planning. This, he said, becomes crucial as going ahead, India has to choose an urbanization model that is congruent with low energy consumption. Already, fuel consumption on motorized vehicles is expected to reach 175 Million Tonnes by 2021 from 70 Million Tonnes in 2011. Consequent impact on fuel import bill would be 1850 thousand crores in 2021 from 750 thousand crores in 2011.

In his opening remarks, Vinayak Chatterjee, Chairman, CII Task Force on Infrastructure Projects – Advocacy & Development and Chairman, Feedback Infra focused upon the need for sustainability – financial and environmental, while devising transportation plans in the country. In this context, he stressed upon the need to explore alternate sources of finance, smart investment and use of clean technology to have inclusive and affordable transport solutions.

The Conference was also addressed by other eminent experts like Dr, Jason Chang, Director – Advanced Transport Research Centre, National Taiwan University, Dr Ramachandran, Former Secretary – MoUD, Professor H M Shivanand Swamy from Center for Environmental Planning and Technology (CEPT) University, among others.

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