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Thursday, September 23, 2021

Rapid rail, new townships: NCR board to discuss regional plan

The draft Regional Plan-2041 is likely to be taken up by the National Capital Region Planning Board (NCRPB) Tuesday.

Written by Sourav Roy Barman | New Delhi |
Updated: August 31, 2021 8:56:16 am
The report suggests exploring possibilities of increasing the speed of Metro rail.

An ambitious plan to make Delhi-NCR future-ready envisages high-speed rail tracks capable of handling bullet trains, helitaxi services, expansion of airport network, and development of 5-8 townships, with the projection that the population of the region will overtake Tokyo by the year 2030.

The draft Regional Plan-2041 is likely to be taken up by the National Capital Region Planning Board (NCRPB) Tuesday. The board, which comes under the MoHUA, has entire Delhi, 14 districts of Haryana, eight districts of Uttar Pradesh and two districts of Rajasthan under its fold — collectively covering an area of about 55,083 sqkm.

The draft report states that the population in NCR is expected to grow to around 7 crore by 2031 and to about 11 crore by 2041. It also said the region will be highly urbanised, around 57% of the total area by 2031 and 67% by 2041.

Among key transport-related proposals in the report is the need to “minimise journey times across NCR and make travel times across NCR limits under 30 minutes by superfast trains and heli-taxis, within 60 minutes by other trains, and two to three hours by car preferably”.

It says Delhi should have 30-minute connectivity through super-fast trains with major cities of NCR. “All RRTS tracks should be Fast Track. Further possibilities be explored to utilise fast track RRTS lines for ‘Bullet Trains’ thus enabling the 30 Minutes NCR,” proposes the report.

Currently, the three RRTS corridors that are being implemented are Delhi-Alwar (164-km), Delhi-Meerut (82-km), and Delhi-Panipat (103-km). The Meerut corridor is expected to be completed by 2023.

The report suggests the possibilities of increasing the speed of Metro rail from existing average of 32-35 km/hr to about 50 km/ hr by 2022 and up to 70 km/hr by 2025 be explored. Currently, the Metro network in Delhi-NCR spans 396 km, including 291 km in Delhi, 34 km in Haryana cities such as Gurgaon and 71.6 km in UP cities such as Noida.

The report alludes to inter-state restrictions on movement during the pandemic by suggesting that steps “shall be taken to prevent closure of interstate borders by states in NCR area, except in emergency situations like crime control etc”. It also underlines the need to review taxes imposed on commercial passenger vehicles.

On air connectivity, it spells out the need to have one airport in Karnal or Panipat and Meerut or Muzaffarnagar, along with development of proposed international airport at Jewar and an aviation hub at Hisar “on priority”: “The six-existing unserved/ small airports/ airstrips in NCR namely, Karnal, Bhiwani, Narnaul, Meerut, Alwar & Baratapur and Bareilly, Kota and Patiala should be developed by 2025 and made fully operational. Private players should be incentivised to develop these…”

It also identifies industries and MSMEs, economic corridors, skilling and employment, farm incomes, and traditional economy as priority areas.

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