Delhi smog a warning, Cities need to wake up


Expressing concern over the adverse impacts of unprecedented atmospheric pollution in Delhi over the last few days, Shri Rao Inderjit Singh, Minister of State for Urban Development and Housing & Urban Poverty has stressed that “Delhi should be taken as a serious warning to the future of urban India and all concerned should wake up in time not to meet the same fate”. He spoke in the Valedictory session of the four day ‘Urban Mobility India Conference and Expo’ that concluded in Gandhinagar, Gujarat.

Shri Rao Inderjit Singh said that “Aspirational India does not have the luxury of time and needs to quickly fix the problems in urban areas to enable country’s transformation to realise its potential. Urban mobility decides how our cities will grow and thrive as effective engines of economic growth”.

He said that during the four day Conference all stakeholders including policy makers and officials from State and city governments including Mayors and Municipal Councilors, experts, academia, students and others intensely deliberated on various aspects of urban mobility challenges and have come out with common positions on various concerns, which would serve as inputs for further policy, planning and implementation initiatives.

Shri Rao Inderjit Singh presented 20 major conclusions and recommendations of the Conference  which include:

1.Expressinig serious concern over growing inequity in sharing of public spaces in urban areas and declining share of public transport, all the stakeholders who attended the Conference recommended restoration of the first right of pedestrians to use road spaces besides speedy promotion of Non-Motorised Transport infrastructure like footpaths, walkways and cycleways;

2.Rejectinig the myth that people don’t like to travel by bus, the Conference called for provision of efficient and comfortable bus services including inter-city services connecting satellite towns;

  1. Expressing concern over only a few cities having formulated Comprehensive Mobility Plans, the Conference suggested mandatory preparation of CMPs to ensure optimal use of all modes of transport based on people’s choices and city needs;
  2. Financing of metro projects may be considered only after comprehensive evaluation of other alternatives and metro fares need to be revised every year. Metro projects need to be looked at urban transformation projects rather than merely as transport interventions, given the impact of metros on socio-economic transformation of urban landscape;
  3. Effective Multi Modal Integration has been called for to incentivize people to shift to public transport including regulation of Intermediate Public Transport systems like e-rickshaws;

6.Further to Paris Agreement on Climate Change, city mobility plans need to promote environment friendly transport solutions like walking and cycling, electric and hybrid vehicles, use of clean fuels including bio-fuels;

  1. Stating that there is a vast potential for private investment in urban mobility projects, the Conference underscored the need to create an enabling environment for more effective use of PPP (Public Private Partnership) as a tool of resource mobilization by enabling risk sharing as against the present scenario of only the private investor bearing all risks;

8.Taking serious note of chaotic mobility scenario in large cities, the Conference has strongly advocated attention to be focused on transport issues in small and medium cities so as to prevent the situation from getting out of hand as they expand.

Shri Rao Inderjit Singh announced that the 10th UMI Conference and Expo will be held in Hyderabad during 4-6, November 2017.

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