The Centre is working on a new initiative to improve climate-friendly public transport facilities in cities with a central allocation of Rs 25,000 crore, Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said. The Green Urban Transport Scheme (GUTS) seeks to encourage growth of urban transport along low carbon path and provide a sustainable framework for funding urban mobility projects with minimum recourse to budgetary support by encouraging innovative financing of projects, he said.
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Besides GUTS, Naidu said the initiatives under his ministry’s consideration include new Metro Rail Policy, revision of Metro Acts and standardisation and indigenisation of Metro systems, which are aimed at increased private sector participation.
“The central government is working on new policy initiatives to encourage private investments in climate friendly and sustainable public transport systems like Metro rail, non-motorised transport and other low carbon emitting systems in urban areas,” he said after inaugurating a four-day ‘Urban Mobility India Conference and Expo’.
Under GUTS, provision of non-motorised transport infrastructure, increasing access to public transport, use of clean technologies, adoption of intelligent transport systems (ITS) and private sector participation in urban transport projects will be increased.
He said the scheme is being considered for implementation in cities each with a population of five lakhs and above and all capital cities.
Naidu said for GUTS, central assistance of about Rs 25,000 crore is estimated to be required which would in turn trigger private investments to meet the resource needs over the next five years.
In view of the growing demand for metro rail systems in urban areas, Naidu said a new Metro Policy would soon be unveiled to meet the demand through increased private sector participation.
This policy mandates preparation of comprehensive mobility plans of cities to ensure last mile connectivity with metro stations, Naidu said, adding that it also seeks to bring in more innovative models of implementation besides increased standardisation and indigenisation to induce competition.
He informed the central government has so far provided an assistance of over Rs 65,000 crore including sovereign debt to metro projects in different cities of the country.
As of now, 325 kms of metro rail is in operation in Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Mumbai and Jaipur.