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Public transport in a state of collapse in India: CSE

Surprisingly, only eight of the 35 cities that have more than a million population have dedicated bus services.

india Updated: May 19, 2006 22:05 IST

Indian cities and metros have to adopt a 'leapfrog' factor in expanding public transport system especially in using vehicles with CNG or 'ultra sulphur' diesel, experts at Centre for Science and Environment said.

"The expansion of public transport system and use of eco-friendly fuels would go a long way in reducing the air pollution, which is one of the most serious public health challenges in India's metros and cities," 'The leapfrog factor -- Clearing the air in Asian cities,' a book published by the Delhi-based organisation, which was released in Mumbai on Friday, said.

Anumita Roychowdhury, research coordinator of the book pointed out that the public transport system is in a state of collapse across India.

"Surprisingly, only eight of the 35 cities that have more than a million population have dedicated bus services and are under extreme pressure," she said.

Metros like Mumbai, despite having excellent public transport system, which currently meets 88 per cent of the travel demand, is overwhelmed by congestion and the private vehicle registration in the city in 2011 is expected to be more than double the 1991 levels, she said.

With many of the automobiles competing to sell diesel cars/vehicles (containing sulphur 0.5 per cent or 500 ppm) at a cheaper rates, health of the people are bound to be affected with vehicular pollution, the book cautioned.

Unfortunately, in India, the ultra sulphur (0.05 per cent or 50 ppm) diesel has not been introduced so far and this is going to affect public health in a big way, it said.

First Published: May 19, 2006 22:05 IST