Govt plans better public transport, elevated roads to rid Delhi of jams

  • Atul Mathur, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Oct 14, 2014 01:06 IST

Delhi residents can hope for a smoother drive, with a government panel starting work on a plan to free the city of notorious jams -- an issue raised by HT and taken up by urban development minister Venkaiah Naidu.

A high-powered committee set up by the minister met Monday and suggested an integrated transport plan, improved public transport system, BRTs and better use of available resources among a string of measures to decongest Capital’s roads, sources said.

HT had in August and September ran a 24-part Unclog Delhi series, identifying the city’s most congested stretches and possible ways to free them up.

“I called a meeting of the officials of various departments and told them to prepare an action plan to decongest Delhi keeping in view the expert opinion given by HT,” Naidu said on September 29. The minister was talking to senior editors at HT House as part of Unplugged@HT series.

A 17-member committee under the chairmanship of urban development secretary Sharad Aggarwal was set up and it held its first meeting Monday. Many of the proposals made by HT were taken up by the panel.

Multiplicity of authorities was identified as the biggest snarl, with various department and agency working in silos and often at cross-purposes. The panel asked the Delhi Development Authority to work on an integrated transport plan that would allow seamless travel.

“The secretary observed that restricted mobility adversely impacts productivity, which in turn affects the competitiveness of Delhi,” said a source who attended the meeting.

The controversial Bus Rapid Transit System may make a comeback, with the panel calling for four or five such corridors.

Under the system, a dedicated lane is marked for buses allowing faster movement. The previous government had planned 15 such corridors but shelved them after opposition from various quarters. The city’s only BRT corridor, between Moolchand Hospital and Ambedkar Nagar, is a mess now.

The ministry of road transport and highways has been tasked with ensuring early completion of eastern and western peripheral highways to stop heavy vehicles that pass through the city from clogging Delhi roads, the source said.

To serve more commuters, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation was asked to examine the possibility of extending the airport line. A redesign plan for all stations that would make available other modes of transport such as autorickshaws and buses was also sought, the source said. The railways has been asked to run more trains to enhance the “utilisation of ring rail” to ease movement in the heart of the city.

Elevated roads and underpasses to increase mobility and rationalisation of parking rates were the other suggestions.

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