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All the PM’s men on the job

Delhi’s proposed Urban Metropolitan Transport Authority (UMTA) will now be debated by a Group of Ministers following reservations over its role by some Cabinet ministers.

delhi Updated: Apr 07, 2010 23:44 IST
Chetan Chauhan

Delhi’s proposed Urban Metropolitan Transport Authority (UMTA) will now be debated by a Group of Ministers following reservations over its role by some Cabinet ministers.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has constituted a Group of Ministers headed by Home Minister P. Chidambaram to chalk out a plan to decongest Delhi roads and provide the city with international quality public transport system.

At a meeting held in March, Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal, who is also an MP from Delhi, wanted to know whether the proposed authority will have powers to shift the wholesale market in Chandni Chowk and reduce congestion.

He also wanted to know which body would deal with lack of parking facilities at metro stations. Plan panel deputy chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia wanted to know about the powers of UMTA to ensure that all agencies in Delhi obey the directions of the authority.

Urban Transport Minister Jaipal Reddy had some issues over functioning of the proposed authority. Unlike most cities, all agencies dealing with transport, except railways, are not under the Delhi government, which has proposed legislation for setting up an authority.

In Delhi, the police, Delhi Development Authority, municipal corporation of Delhi and New Delhi Municipal Council are not under the control of Delhi government.

Lieutenant-Governor of Delhi Tejendra Khanna explained the proposed UMTA would give directives and will have a comprehensive look at the policies, plans and proposals from a “holistic point of view”.

The Delhi government has proposed UMTA on the lines of Land Transport Authority of Singapore and Transport for London, having powers to regulate traffic within and the neighbourhood of the city.

“UMTA is envisaged as a superior planning body… One of the responsibilities of the body will be to clear individual plans as a part of the comprehensive transport plan,” Delhi government officials told the GoM.

Chidambaram said the proposed UMTA would need further deliberations and for that a copy of the draft law should be submitted to GoM.