Soon, more thought will be applied into planning basic transport infrastructure such as pavements and roads. The Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority (UMTA), the state’s apex transport body, held a meeting on Wednesday where it directed all civic bodies in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) to set up a separate transport cell to ensure cohesive planning of projects such as design of footpaths, flyovers and traffic systems.
The UMTA said that transport experts or internal staffers, who have some expertise on transportation, should be included in the cell. A government official present at the meeting said that civic bodies have been asked to treat with more seriousness issues like design of roads and pavements to prevent flooding and potholes, traffic management to reduce congestion, and planning for multiple corridors.
The official, who chose not to be named, added that UMTA will hold a workshop for these transport cells of all Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) by the end of this month.
At Wednesday’s meeting, it was also decided that the UMTA Act, a legislation empowering the UMTA, should be passed to ensure better co-ordination across all transport agencies in the city. The UMTA was set up in 2008, but lacks real powers to direct the various transport authorities such as the railways, traffic police, and the various road authorities.
The UMTA also directed all civic bodies in the MMR to reserve in their Development Plans, transport corridors proposed in the comprehensive transport study, drafted by Lee Associates.
“The state government has accepted the report, so all transport alignments have to be frozen. Civic bodies shouldn’t be giving building permissions along these corridors, and any proposed construction close to the corridor should also get a no-objection certificate from the MMRDA, and then the UMTA,’’ he added.
The transport alignments include proposed metro corridors between Mumbai and Navi Mumbai, and a multi-modal corridor from Virar to Alibaug.
The UMTA’s core committee meeting was chaired by principal secretary TC Benjamin and included transport commissioner VN More, joint commissioner of police (traffic) Vivek Phansalkar, and general manager of BEST OP Gupta, in addition to transport experts from the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority, representatives from the railways, and commissioners of civic bodies.