India needs an investment of Rs 1 trillion in infrastructure projects by 2030 for augmenting its mass rapid transport systems, NITI Aayog advisor Rakesh Ranjan said here today. While the metro railway is good for intra-city transportation, suburban railway systems are more effective in transporting people to and from city centres and suburbs and other areas in the vicinity, Ranjan said. The suburban railway systems help in decongesting cities while providing better livelihood for people living in the region around a large metropolis. "We are heavily under-invested in urban transportation projects. We require an investment of Rs 1 trillion by 2030 for these," he said. The NITI Aayog advisor said that India's suburban rail carries a significant number of passengers, especially in cities like Mumbai and Kolkata. "The suburban rail systems contribute roughly 53 per cent in number of passengers over the Indian Railway's total passenger traffic," he said. Stating that price sensitivity is an important aspect as these public transportation systems cater to a poor population and there is a limitation in raising user charges. Kumar V Pratap, joint secretary in the finance ministry, said that metro railway is an expensive mode of urban transport involving huge investments. Stating that cost recovery in a metro railway project is a challenge, he said that other modes like Bus Rapid Transport System should be considered for cities with lower population. "Proper use of land available can increase revenue and fund generation for a metro project," Pratap said at a symposium on Mass Rapid Transport Systems (MRTS) here. There are numerous areas in which improvement can be made in MRTS, he said, adding that efficiency and environmental benefits should be considered in deciding the mode of transportation to benefit the people in a region.
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