A centre for infrastructure and sustainable transport and urban planning has been set up at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) here.
Established with a corpus of Rs.300 million/Rs. 30 crore/$6 mn, it is the first such government-academia facility in the country that will address urban planning and critical infrastructure issues arising out of rapid growth of greater Bangalore and other cities in the state.
"The centre is modelled on the lines of institutes such as the School of Planning and Architecture (SPA) in New Delhi and the Centre for Environment Planning and Technology (CEPT) in Ahmedabad to improve urban infrastructure and ensure sustainable transportation with modern concepts and technology," IISc director P Balaram said at its inauguration.
The four state-run transport corporations and Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) have contributed to the corpus fund.
"The state government will approach the Union urban development ministry for a matching grant of Rs 300 million (Rs 30 crore) from the Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission (JNURM) fund to the centre for specific projects that will improve the service of public utilities," Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa said inaugurating the centre.
With the institute's academic inputs, scientific research and consultancy, the centre will provide expertise to state departments and state-run undertakings on integrating urban planning and transport policies.
The major urban infrastructure issues are sewerage, solid waste management and drinking water supply.
"The institute will help the government to plan integrated future cities in the state where land planning, city development and multimodal transportation are integrated through infrastructure creation, resulting in reduced travel time and cost for citizens," Balaram affirmed.
The centre's activities will be funded from the interest generated by the corpus and income from course fee and consultancy fees levied on prospective students and the agencies concerned for conducting academic research, training programmes and consultancy activities in sustainable urban transportation, infrastructure development and urban planning.
Its activities will be extended to cities in other states across the country for leveraging the expertise developed by the institute in urban infrastructure and sustainable transport solutions.
"We will also seek affiliation with the United Nations University, the Tokyo-based think tank for the UN and its member-states, and the Maastricht Economic Research Institute of Innovation and Technology (MERIT) in the Netherlands for international recognition and collaboration in undertaking projects in urban infrastructure and mass transportation," IISc civil engineering department head T G Sitharam said.
The science institute will also introduce master's courses (ME) in urban infrastructure and transportation by hiring faculty and drawing up the curricula.
With about 300 million people living in 3700 towns and cities across the country, India has the second largest urban population in the world after China. As a result, urbanisation has been growing at a rapid pace of 31 percent over the last decade due to higher employment opportunities in cities and towns.
"We are witnessing a phenomenal growth in our urban centers. For planned and integrated future of cities, integrated land planning, city development and multi-modal transportation systems are the need of the hour. This multi-disciplinary centre has been set up to develop expertise in the areas of infrastructure, sustainable transportation and urban planning in the 21st century," Sitharam added.