“Traffic Man” Boota Singh, a former Indian Railway Traffic Services (IRTS) officer who is contesting Lok Sabha polls independently, maintains that metro, monorail and sky bus are not feasible in Chandigarh.
Singh, who has 30 years of expertise in traffic management, said that something which could suit Chandigarh’s character and solve its growing transport problem was light rail transit system (LRTS).
Lambasting both the Congress and BJP leadership for playing havoc with Chandigarh’s future due to their insensitive and careless attitude, Singh asserted that the ever-evolving traffic needs of City Beautiful need a calibrated approach which both the parties had so far tragically not exhibited.
Advocating the light rail system for Chandigarh’s traffic woes, the former officer said that this system was a technologically proven system and at present had been implemented in over more than 40 countries worldwide and could easily be introduced in our existing city system without much disruption and can be elevated, underground and on the outskirts. Such arrangement would serve till 2040, he added.
Taking potshots at both sitting MP Kirron Kher and former MP Pawan Bansal, Boota Singh said that both leaders were hoodwinking the masses for petty political gains and ruining the unique culture of this world-famous city. The recent statement of Union Minister Nitin Gadkari where he suggested sky bus as the solution to all traffic needs of city once again exposed the classic lack of thinking and callousness on part of the BJP leadership when it comes to addressing the core issues our city faces today, Boota said, adding that Gadkari and Kher were speaking in different tones.
Explaining the light rail system, he said in Chandigarh the route could start from Panchkula through Secretariat, High Court to PGI and lead to Mohali, Zirakpur and other intersecting corridors. It is energy-efficient and requires one fifth of energy, is safer and would reduce journey time by more than 50% to 75%, he added. Rail metro carries same amount of traffic as five lanes of bus traffic and 12 lanes of private motor cars.
“Mono rail systems have limited passenger throughput whereas demand for the city is much more. Once the driving unit motor fails on the guide way, it becomes difficult for evacuation of passengers. It was the same reason mono rail had failed in Mumbai,” he added.
The sky bus is viable for hilly terrain and not fit for Chandigarh as it can hit support pillars due to technical limitation on curves and has less throughput.
Why they are not feasible
SKYBUS: It is meant only for hilly terrain and is really a risky mode of transport. If the wind is fast, there are chances that it can strike on the pillar. And God forbid, if one accident happens, no one will sit in it for 10 years.
METRO: It is heavy-duty and very expensive. It has sharp curves and won’t solve problem for Chandigarh. Those from Railways are only deputed in metro. Considering its technical facts, fares will be really high.
MONORAIL: Monorail works on industrial motor. There are chances that it can stop on the way. If its stops, the fault can be rectified only by sky ladder and it will consume a lot of time.
Features of Light Rail System
- Four-coach system, max speed of 60 kmph. Stations 500 m to 1,000 m apart. On board signalling, ATP, ATC.
- 25 km proposed corridors
- North to South: Panchkula to Railway station — High Court to PGI — to Bus Stand Sector 17 — to Tribune office-Mohali stadium (one link to airport) – Mohali Industrial Area.
- East-West Corridor: Airport To Sector 17 to High Court.
Speaking about various other problems being faced by Chandigarh, he said the city needs a concerted approach as far as the issue of traffic congestion, rising pollution, garbage processing and migrant labour are concerned.
Referring to the matter of increasing garbage problem, he said small garbage dumps should be set up on the outskirts of the city rather than the one at Dadumajra. Dadumajra dump poses a serious health hazard and should be urgently shifted out of city limits, he said, adding that this only required administrative proactivness and should not have been allowed to linger on for so long. Mocking the Swachh Abhiyan as mere tokenism, he said that merely distributing bins won’t suffice; serious action was required to change people’s mindset towards a clean green surroundings.