ASSOCHAM for developing MRTS in Mumbai as population soars



Mumbai: Apex chamber ASSOCHAM today cautioned that crumbling infrastructure in Mumbai will be inadequate to bear the projected population of 3.3 crore by 2030 compared to over 2.3 crore at present.

It therefore suggested introduction of a mass transportation system to decongest roads and cope up with rapid urbanisation in and around country’s financial capital.

The transportation infrastructure in Mumbai is dismal as the city is plagued with perennial traffic problems. Besides, both buses and local trains in the city are over-crowded and sorely lacking in comfort and convenience for commuters, said The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM).

Rapid urbanisation has fuelled the need for an effective and sustainable public transportation system in Mumbai following the Delhi Metro model – a perfect example of synergy between public and private sectors, it said in the study titled ‘Urbanising India and Mega Metro Network: Vision for the Emerging Cities of India 2030.’

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

ASSOCHAM thus urged the Maharashtra government to undertake an environment-friendly mass rapid transit system (MRTS) and put its 1,460 km long first phase of Mumbai metro system with an estimated worth about Rs 20,000 crore on a fast track.

“The rapidly progressing city of Mumbai lacks a credible public transport system as roads and rails cannot take the load any longer,” said Mr D.S. Rawat, secretary general of ASSOCHAM. “Metro is a cost-effective feasible solution to put an end to transportation woes of millions of commuters.”

Traffic decongestion by encouraging commuters to shun their vehicles and use public transport is the primary aim of MRTS, said Mr Rawat.

Across the country, the number of cities with over 10 lakh people will increase from 48 to 68 in the next two decades, said Mr Rawat. “A nationwide network of mass transport systems is imperative to avert urban vehicular traffic.”

According to the ASSOCHAM study, the number of cities with population of 40 lakh 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 two lakh 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.”

Delhi Metro has also become world’s first railway project to receive valuable carbon credits for regenerative braking and the environmental technology has also contributed over Rs two crore under a United Nations-backed initiative to combat climate change.

About 80,731 four-wheelers and 4.8 lakh two-wheelers on roads have been reduced and the withdrawal in number of buses had increased to 4,767. By 2015-16, the reduction in number of four-wheelers and two-wheelers is projected to reach 2.4 lakh and 1.5 lakh. The withdrawal in number of buses will rise to 12,388.

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 will also help save fuel consumption, vehicle operating costs and save travelling time.