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Poor infra could be serious threat to growing population, says study

BS Reporter  |  Chennai/ Bangalore 

The lack of a mass rapid transport system and inadequate infrastructure could pose serious problems to the growing population of Bangalore. The present infrastructure network in the city will be inadequate for the projected population of over 10 million by 2030 compared to 8 million presently, a study by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) said.

To decongest the roads and cope with the rapid urbanisation in and around India’s tech hub, it is necessary to introduce a mass transportation system, the chamber said in its study — ‘Urbanising India and Mega Metro Network: Vision’ — for the emerging cities of India 2030’.

“The transportation infrastructure in Bangalore is dismal as buses and trains are over-crowded, and sorely lacking in comfort and convenience for commuters,” the study said. Rapid urbanisation has fuelled the need for an effective and sustainable public transportation system in Bangalore following the Delhi Metro model — a perfect example of synergy between public and private sectors, the apex chamber said in the study.

The explosive growth in Bangalore has pushed the city and its denizens towards a serious crisis. Frequent traffic snarls are due to narrow and choked road network and are proving to be a growth bottleneck adding to the increased costs of goods and services.

Assocham thus urged the Karnataka government to undertake an environment-friendly mass rapid transit system (MRTS) and put its Rs 12,000 crore metro rail project on a fast track.

“The rapidly progressing city of Bangalore lacks a credible public transport system,” said Ravindra Sana Reddy, chairperson of the Assocham Southern Regional Chapter. “Metro is a cost-effective feasible solution to put an end to transportation woes of millions of commuters,” he said. Traffic decongestion by encouraging commuters to shun their vehicles and use public transport is the primary aim of MRTS, said chamber’s secretary general D S Rawat. Across the country, the number of cities with over 1 million people will increase from 48 to 68 in the next two decades, he said. “A nationwide network of mass transport systems is imperative to averting urban vehicular traffic,” he added.

According to the Assocham study, the number of cities with a population of 4 million and above will increase from seven at present to 13 in the next two decades. The subsequent growth explosion these cities will account for almost 70 per cent of India’s GDP. Implementation of metro network in Delhi has resulted in multiple benefits like reduction in air pollution, time saving for passengers, reduction in number of road accidents, reduction in traffic congestion apart from fuel savings.

“Fuel savings due to Delhi Metro Rail could notch up to Rs 8,000 crore in 2011-12 and rise progressively to Rs 15,000 crore by 2020,” said the study. “Over 200,000 office goers, businessmen and other professionals travel back and forth via metro in Delhi, and use their cars to move from home to station and back on weekdays.”

The MRTS will help reduce the extent of pressure on existing sub-urban transport systems and is an imperative to meet the future demand. It is not just environment-friendly but is also a financially viable and economical transport mechanism attractive to commuters, said the apex chamber.

The study said the MRTS would also help save fuel consumption, operating costs and save travelling time.

First Published: Sun, August 14 2011. 21:57 IST