To tackle the chronic problem of road congestion and the ever-increasing need for better transportation in the city, Satish Gavai, MHADA chief executive has suggested that extensive use of data networks in telecommuting can minimise or eliminate the need for travel.
In a concept note published on the website of the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA), Gavai has described the Internet and its associated technologies such as email, virtual private networks, remote desktop and video conferencing, as the new vehicle of transport.
“Therefore, if the state focuses on strengthening the existing information network, we could easily focus on more information flowing down the information highway (information networks) rather than focus on building more highways,” Gavai said in the concept note, adding that though the changes will not be readily accepted by the mindset of the past, they will eventually bring in more efficiency.
“Now, of course, not everyone can telecommute. But there are many people who have jobs in offices in which almost all their work is performed in front of a computer and on the phone,” Gavai said.
For all such industries that cannot do without a personal interface, the IAS officer has suggested, creating of special designated clusters so that citizens don’t have to travel more than five kilometres for work. He has also expressed the possibility of using plots of the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) for the same.
“Increasing the number of people who telecommute would not completely eliminate problems, but it would be an effective part of reducing congestion. However, there will be numerous job functions that cannot adopt to tele-work. Special clusters will be provided for such work places. Of the 110 layouts which MHADA possesses, 54 are large layouts of more than 1 acre and can be utilised for this purpose,” Gavai added.
Similarly, he added, that the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) can be tasked with the responsibility of putting in place a system that enables swapping of land and office spaces between businesses and owners.
Gavai has also suggested a study of the proposed solution by a committee of experts, followed by a new legislation that can give positive and negative incentives to all businesses to ensure that no citizen has to travel more than five kilometres to work.