In order to create non-motorised transport infrastructure in cities like footpaths and cycle-tracks, the Modi- government is planning to bring a new green urban mobility scheme that will have a central assistance of Rs 25000 crore, Urban Development Venkaiah Naidu said while speaking at the inauguration of the Urban Mobility India 2016 event at Gandhinagar, Gujarat, Tuesday evening.
“In the absence of adequate public transport in Tier-I and Tier-II cities, the use of motorised private vehicles is increasing…. In six large cities of India — Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Hyderabad —the growth of vehicles is eight times that of human population. This is not good for the country,” Naidu told the audience at Mahatma Mandir where about 2500 delegates including mayors and municipal councilors from across India had gathered for a four-day event.
“We are exploring the possibility of bringing out a Green Urban Mobility Scheme, to promote urban mobility initiatives other than metro rail projects. This scheme will cover sustainable projects like footpaths, cycle-tracks, public-bike sharing, bus rapid transit systems, intelligent transport systems and urban freight management,” the minister said.
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The Green Urban Transport Scheme seeks to encourage growth of urban transport along low carbon path for substantial and measurable reduction in pollution, provide a permanent and sustainable framework for funding urban mobility projects at national, state and city level with minimum recourse to budgetary support by encouraging innovative financing of projects, the minister said.
“Under this Scheme, 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. This scheme is being considered for implementation in cities each with a population of five lakhs and above and all capital cities, Central assistance of about Rs.25,000 cr is estimated to be required which would in turn trigger private investments to meet the resource needs, over the next five years,” Naidu said.
The minister stressed on the need for promotion of Non-motorised transport infrastructure for encouraging walking and cycling. The non-motorised transport as a viable alternative mode of mobility would be effective if there is a close relationship between work and living place, he noted and called for proper land use zoning, development control and building regulations to ensure success of public transport system in cities.
Stating that PM Narendra Modi and BJP were being criticised by political rivals for aligning with corporates in carrying out development work, he said “There are some political parties in this country who are suffering from the Soviet-model of socialism. They always try to criticise private people.”
“We never think that doing business is wrong,” Naidu added. “There is nothing wrong in going private. Some people are trying to criticise us… They say our government belongs to big industrialists. Is being an industrialist a sin?,” he said adding that the government was also planning to bring in a new metro rail policy by revising the metro acts and is also planning to standardise and indigenise metro systems with increased private sector participation.
“In view of the growing demand for metro rail systems in urban areas, a new Metro Policy would soon be unveiled to meet the demand through increased private sector participation,” the minister said. The policy also seeks to bring in more innovative models of implementation besides increased standardization and indigenization to induce competition.