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M.Venkaiah Naidu

Urban Mobility India Conference and Expo inaugurated

Minister of Urban Development Shri M.Venkaiah Naidu today said that 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 spoke on the inadequate and inefficient public transport infrastructure in urban areas after inaugurating the four day ‘Urban Mobility India Conference and Expo’ at Gandhinagar, Gujarat today. Various aspects of “Planning Mobility for City’s Sustainability” will be discussed by about 2,500 delegates from India and abroad including Mayors and Municipal Councilors, during the conference.

Shri Naidu said that the new initiatives under consideration include Green Urban Transport Scheme, new Metro Rail Policy, revision of Metro Acts and Standardisation and Indigenisation of Metro systems, aimed at increased private sector participation.

The Minister informed that 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. 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. He said, this scheme is being considered for 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.

Shri Naidu said that 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. This Policy mandates preparation of Comprehensive Mobility Plans of cities mandatory to ensure last mile connectivity with metro stations. It also seeks to bring in more innovativee models of implementation besides increased standardization and indigenization to induce competition. the Minister said new Metro policy seeks to ensure integration of metro projects with over all mobility needs in urban areas. He informed that the Central government has so far provided an assistance of over Rs.65,000 cr 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. About 517 kms of metro rail projects are under execution and another 449 kms under planning stage, the Minister informed.

The Minister said that the existing two Metro Acts made in the context of Kolkata and Delhi Metros are being integrated envisaging more delegation of powers to State Governments besides promoting PPP and private initiatives.

Stressing on the need for holistic planning to improve the city’s mobility, liveability and sustainability, Shri Naidu said “Urban transport planning shall be people centric and aim at moving people instead of moving cars. All sections of people shall be ensured access to efficient public transport through inclusive planning”.

Expressing concern over one road accident every minute and one accident death every four minutes in urban areas and half of the victims being pedestrians, cyclists and those using two wheelers, Shri Naidu called for an affordable, comfortable, reliable and safe public transport to reduce demand for private motorized vehicles. He stressed on the need for promotion of Non-motorised transport infrastructure for encouraging walking and cycling. NMT 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.

The Minister stated that under new urban sector initiatives of Smart Cities Mission and Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), Non-Motorised Transport is being encourages on a large scale.

Gujarat Chief Minister Shri Vijaybhai Rupani, Deputy Chief Minister Shri Nitinbhai Patel, Minister of State for urban Development Shri Shankarbhai Chaudhari and Minister of State for Urban Housing Shri Vallabhbhai Vaghasiya also attended the inaugural session.