The Vice President Shri M Venkaiah Naidu has called for adopting a public transport-centric approach to decongest traffic-choked cities and combat growing vehicular pollution. He observed that our cities have been witnessing an undesirable shift from the use of public transport to private vehicles.
‘The average two-wheeler and car ownership levels in metropolitan cities which were 112 and 14 per 1000 population in 1994 are expected to grow to 393 and 48 respectively by 2021. This would mean 53 million two-wheelers and six million cars in the next 15 years in metropolitan cities,’ he added.
Speaking at the 25th Foundation Day event of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) in New Delhi today, he said urban transportation solutions like the metro rails have the capacity to act as driving forces to take India’s quest for sustainable urban spaces to fruition.
Lauding the DMRC, Shri Naidu said that it presents a blue print for development of metro services not only to the other cities in India but also to a number of developing countries.
Pointing out that urban transport was leading to growing air and noise pollution, he said that it was estimated to account for about 25 percent of the greenhouses gases worldwide and spending more time in the polluted atmosphere was adversely affecting the health of the people, the Vice President said and added that the need for clean urban mobility cannot be over emphasized.
Referring to the deleterious effects of global warming and climate change, he said “we need to swiftly move from fossil fuel based automobiles to electricity or battery based vehicular system”.
He said that a relevant infrastructure, especially in regard to charging of batteries had to be developed on an urgent basis to meet the emerging demand for electric vehicles.
Stressing the need to put in place an adequately developed reliable, affordable and accessible urban public transport system, Shri Naidu called for steps on a war footing to make public transport the most popular mode of travel for all commuters.
The Vice President asked planners to provide hassle-free travel facilities and said that ensuring the last mile connectivity to commuters, especially for those travelling by metro and local rail networks.
He urged cities to increasingly focus on introducing multi-modal transit systems. “Public transport should take precedence over personalized motor transport and every stakeholder should work in that direction”, he added.
The Vice President also wanted city planners to make urban spaces safe for women, children and the elderly and make them completely barrier-free and accessible to the differently abled.
Shri D.S. Mishra, Secretary, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs & Chairman, DMRC, Shri Vijay Kumar, Chief Secretary, GNCTD, Dr. Mangu Singh, Managing Director, DMRC, Shri K.K. Saberwal, Director (Finance), DMRC and employees of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation were present at the event.
The following is the full text of the speech:
I am delighted to be here today at the 25th Foundation Day celebrations of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC). The Delhi Metro has been instrumental in ushering in a new era of sustainability and comfort in the urban mass transportation arena in India.
In these 25 years, DMRC has shown the world that India is capable of executing major infrastructure projects within time and budgetary constraints, while strictly adhering to world class standards.
The Delhi Metro presents a blue print for development of metro services not only to the other cities in India but also to a number of developing countries.
DMRC has continuously adopted the latest technologies to present to the citizens a world class mass transit system which is comfortable, safe as well as environment friendly.
In many ways, the Delhi Metro is the symbol of the immense progress that our country has made in the last few years.
It is heartening to note that it is the first ever rail based system in the world to claim carbon credits for its regenerative braking and modal shift technologies.
According to a study, Delhi Metro has helped in removing about seven lakh vehicles from the streets of Delhi, reducing congestion on arterial roads of the nation’s capital.
Having constructed a massive network of 373 Km with 271 stations (including the NOIDA – Greater NOIDA Corridor) in record time, the DMRC today stands out as a shining example of how a mammoth technically complex infrastructure project can be completed before time and within the budgeted cost by a Government agency.
It is truly appreciable that DMRC is also working towards developing robust last mile connectivity from the Metro stations. It is especially important for vulnerable sections of our population, especially the women, the elderly and the differently abled.
I am told that services such as e-rickshaws and cab counters are now available at a number of metro stations.
My dear sisters and brothers,
India has embarked on a journey to prepare for rapid Urbanization. Our cities offer tremendous opportunities for growth and act as engines of prosperity. Cities are the main creators of economic wealth, generating a lion’s share of the world’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In India, the GDP contribution of cities is expected to grow to 70% by 2030.
Approximately 33% of India’s population is urban. The Annual report of Ministry of Urban Development, 2017 estimates that by 2030, urban population in India would cross 590 million with 68 cities having a population of more than a million.
We are witnessing migration to cities at an unprecedented rate. Today, our cities demand 21st century solutions to accommodate the growing population and to improve the quality of lives of its inhabitants.
Our urban spaces are growing fast.
Our cities are now are expanding into sub-urban and peri-urban areas. We have to be fully prepared to plan and manage this growth so that we build ‘People friendly Cities’ which are liveable, sustainable, provide wealth creation opportunities and enhance happiness, generosity, religious harmony and promote diversity, inclusion and peaceful co-existence.
India now dreams of creating smart urban spaces.
‘Smart city’ is an umbrella term, an all-encompassing vision of an urban space that is eco-friendly, technology integrated and meticulously planned with specific reliance on the utilization of Information Technology to improve the delivery of services and the quality of life.
However, our road to realizing the vision of Smart Cities is obstructed by a number of challenges.
Our cities face several gaps in infrastructure and service delivery.
There are issues of congestion, inadequate public transport facilities, insufficient provisions for sanitation and waste management, power and water supply shortages and severe pollution.
We must put in place urban governance systems that are transparent, accountable and participative and adopt a multi-disciplinary, multi-pronged approach to solve complex problems.
We have to make our urban spaces safe for women, children and the elderly and make them completely barrier free and accessible to the differently abled. We have to inject much more funds into urban development and create stable institutions to manage resources sustainably.
Urban transport is a crucial component of urban infrastructure. A poor urban transport system not only constrains economic growth but also degrades the quality of life through congestion, pollution, accidents etc.
We need to adopt a Public Transport centric approach to fight pollution, climate change and the congestion on roads. We all are aware that accessibility and urban mobility are critical for promoting sustainable urban economic development in Indian cities.
In view of the deleterious effects of global warming and climate change, we need to swiftly move from fossil fuel based automobiles to electricity or battery based vehicular system. Relevant infrastructure, especially in regard to charging of batteries has to be developed on an urgent basis to meet the emerging demand for electric vehicles.
Apart from promoting hybrid or electric cars and electric buses, we need to give priority to Rail based MRTS systems, including sub-urban rails.
The extent to which the Indian cities can maximize their economic performance and reduce poverty will be closely linked to how efficiently its transport system moves people and goods.
In the recent times, our cities have been witnessing an undesirable shift from the use of public transport to private vehicles. The average two-wheeler and car ownership levels in metropolitan cities which were 112 and 14 per 1000 population in 1994 are expected to grow to 393 and 48 respectively by 2021.
This would mean 53 million two wheelers and 6 million cars in the next 15 years in metropolitan cities.
Absence of adequate mass transportation in these cities would result in an increase in atmospheric pollution and greenhouse gas emissions and lead to further congestion on roads.
It is estimated that urban transport accounts for about 25 per cent of the greenhouses gases worldwide and is increasingly leading to air and noise pollution in cities. Spending more time in a polluted atmosphere is adversely affecting the health of the population. Therefore, the need for clean urban mobility cannot be over emphasized.
With burgeoning population and unplanned urbanization, the demand for motorized travel has increased by leaps and bounds in recent decades, thus creating challenges on economic, social and environmental fronts. Our cities need to increasingly focus on introducing multi modal transit systems. Public transport should take precedence over personalized motor transport and every stakeholder should work in that direction.
Our cities are finding it difficult to cope with the rapid rise in personalized motor vehicles and there is no other alternative but to deliver a safe and sustainable public transport. The most important aspect for transport systems such as metro rails is to ensure the last mile connectivity so that commuters enjoy hassle-free travel.
These days, people have to spend considerable time in travelling from their homes to work places. Traffic snarls are adding to their woes. Lack of adequate public transport is forcing people to use personal vehicles. This situation needs to be remedied on a war footing and public transport should become the most popular mode of travel for all commuters.
The need of the hour is to put in place an adequately developed reliable, affordable and accessible urban public transport system. I would like to share a quote by Mr Enrique Penelosa, the mayor of Bogota who said: “A developed country is not where the poor use cars but where the rich use public transport.”
As a matter of fact, cyclists and pedestrians face harrowing time and have to often jostle for space. That’s why I have been suggesting that all cities should have dedicated cycle tracks and pedestrian paths. Promoting walking and cycling would also have a positive impact on health.
Transport sector is already the second largest consumer of energy in India. The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) has estimated that India’s commercial energy demands and emissions will increase by about 6 to 7 times by 2031-32 from the levels in 2011 unless drastic reform measures are envisioned and implemented dedicatedly.
It is clear that urban transportation needs our urgent and undivided attention. The need for better transportation system is undeniable.
The successful Delhi Metro experience has strengthened the case of metro rail as a sustainable, environment friendly and viable urban transportation option.
I am told that more than 664 kms of Metro Rail Projects are under various stages of implementation in 15 cities.
I am happy to note that the Metro Rail Policy notified by the government seeks to focus on systematic planning and implementation of metro rail systems. I am told that it enables greater private participation and innovative financing through Transit Oriented Development (TOD) and Value Capture Finance (VCF). With the new policy in place, I am sure that DMRC with its rich experience could guide other metro rail projects in their execution. All the stakeholders must look at the feasibility of the projects in a holistic manner by considering the economic, environmental and social aspects.
The utility of any metro rail project would greatly depend on how well it is integrated into the spatial and functional layout of the city.
It is also essential to integrate various modes of transport to ensure seamless connectivity for commuters. The modal integration has to be at three levels—physical, operational and fare integration.
Facilitating direct connection from one mode to another and introducing common mobility card would go a long way in improving the overall ecosystem of the public transport system. For any metro rail to function well, it needs a good feeder bus network, connecting pedestrian paths and seamless modal transfer.
Apart from adopting PPP models for development of urban transport systems, there is also need to adopt innovative financing methods like issuance of bonds.
We must also strive to continually improve the functioning of our metro system, upgrade technologies and improve safety systems while keeping the fares low so that metro travel becomes affordable to every last citizen.
Urban transportation solutions like the metro rails have the capacity to act as driving forces to take this quest for sustainable urban spaces to fruition.
Today, the Delhi Metro is one of the largest Metro rail networks in the world. It must be one of the fastest expanding networks as well.
As it moves forward towards many new achievements, I wish it all success and hope that DMRC will scale many new frontiers and bring laurels to the nation.