If the state government has its way, planning and execution for transport infrastructure will be more streamlined. The government is planning to give more teeth to the dormant Unified Mumbai Metropolitan Transport Authority (UMMTA) by making it a statutory body.
The move assumes significance with Mumbai and surrounding areas getting new modes of transport such as the Metro and monorail, along with integrated ticketing system and future integration of various transport modes in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region.
The UMMTA is supposed to cut down on red tape and ensure smooth coordination among various government agencies for speedy implementation of policies and projects. It will also play a crucial role in monitoring various transport systems, along with contributing on issues such as fare fixation, parking facilities and toll agreements.
The need for such an authority had been highlighted by Hindustan Times in its September 3, 2014, edition, when transport experts and politicians had — at a roundtable conference held as part of HT’s Unclog Mumbai campaign — termed it as a necessity for the city.
“We can either make UMMTA a statutory body or change its current structure to make it effective. If we do the former, its directions will be binding on agencies of the Central government. However, we will need the President’s consent to do so, which is a time consuming process,” said UPS Madan, MMRDA commissioner.
In 2008, to bring all agencies concerned under one roof, the state government had formed the UMMTA. However, it failed to do its job due to lack of power.
Welcoming the move, transport expert AV Shenoy said, “Once the UMMTA is made into a statutory body, it will ensure better coordination among agencies, which will result in proper implementation of policies and projects.”
At a recent meeting, officials from UMMTA, MMRDA, UDD, Cidco, RTO discussed issues related to remodelling of the body to make it more effective.
MMRDA has already distributed copies of draft by-laws to the government agencies, which speak about possible structure and functioning of UMMTA.