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Blog Entry# 2059594  
Posted: Nov 14 2016 (15:28)

1 Responses
Last Response: Nov 14 2016 (15:28)
Rail News
Commentary/Human Interest
Nov 14 2016 (12:24)   Centre advises metro projects as last resort

rdb*^   125985 news posts
Entry# 2059594   News Entry# 285631         Tags   Past Edits
PUNE: The metro project for Pune is in its last phase of approval, but the urban development department which has till now promoted metros is now requesting cities to consider their projects only after exploring other alternatives.
The urban development ministry's dilemma about metro transport came to the fore at the concluding session of the four-day urban mobility India conference and expo that concluded in Gandhinagar in Gujarat on Friday. The request has caused a flutter among civic officials and urban planners.
Minister of state for urban development Rao Inderjit Singh presented 20
conclusions and recommendations of the conference. One of them emphasized that financing of metro projects may be considered only after comprehensive evaluation of other alternatives and metro fares that need to be revised every year.
"Metro projects need to be looked at as urban transformation projects rather than merely as transport interventions, given the impact of metros on socio-economic transformation of urban landscape. Effective multi modal integration has been called for to incentivize people to shift to public transport including regulation of intermediate public transport systems like e-rickshaws," he said.
A senior Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) official said the stand taken by the ministry will remain on papers as many cities have already started working on metro projects. "Pune metro project proposal could be approved by the Union cabinet any time and hence there is no point in discussing other transport alternatives. The Comprehensive Mobility Plan (CMP) had suggested a pedestrian friendly and sustainable non-motorized transport options. But no one was interested in these projects and metro became the mantra for a solution to the city's traffic problems. Now, there is no turning back," the officer said.
The ministry has also warned cities to take Delhi's smog as a warning and insisted on the need to have comprehensive mobility plans and make cities walkable. Expressing serious concern about growing inequity in sharing of public spaces in urban areas and the declining share of public transport, the government recommended restoration of the first right of pedestrians to use the road spaces, besides speedy promotion of non-motorised transport infrastructure like footpaths, walkways and cycle ways.
A recent report released by city-based Parisar revealed that commuting in the city is unsafe, unproductive and uncomfortable for women.
"In Pune, there are no available means of safe transport. Awful inadequacy of public transport and non-availability of non-motorised transport is a major problem," Sujit Patwardhan of Parisar said. He added that politicians and the government were interested in big projects and have ignored cycle tracks, bus rapid transport and public transport.
Congress corporator Aba Bagul said the reconsideration of the metro project was impossible as the issue has become politically 'sensitive'. "The BJP government will go ahead with the project and the ruling NCP in the civic body will not stop the project as the civic election us in February," he added.
Urban Mobility India Conference Conclusions and Recommendations
* Restoration of the first right to pedestrians to use road spaces besides speedy promotion of non-motorised transport infrastructure like footpaths, walkways and cycleways
* Reject the myth that people don't like to travel by bus. Make provision of efficient and comfortable bus services including inter-city services connecting satellite towns
* Comprehensive mobility plans must ensure optimal use of all modes of transport based on people's choices and the city's needs
* Further to Paris Agreement on Climate Change, city mobility plans need to promote environment-friendly transport solutions like walking and cycling, electric and hybrid vehicles, use of clean fuels including bio-fuels
* There is a vast potential for private investment in urban mobility projects
* There is a need to create an enabling environment for more effective use of Public Private Partnership as a tool of resource mobilization by enabling risk sharing as against the present scenario of only the private investor bearing all risks
* Taking serious note of chaotic mobility scenario in large cities, the conference strongly advocated attention to be focused on transport issues in small and medium cities so as to prevent the situation from getting out of hand as they expand

Nov 14 2016 (15:28)
For Better Managed Indian Railways~   1933 blog posts
Re# 2059594-1            Tags   Past Edits
"financing of metro projects may be considered only after comprehensive evaluation of other alternatives and metro fares that need to be revised every year" This is a basic principle which should be followed before introduction of a first Metro train in any country. But we seem to realise it now, when proposal/construction for Metro construction has been indiscriminately cleared/started for about 20 cities in the country!!
Also, the estimated fares should be within the paying power of the citizens of a city before starting the construction of metro project. Rather a survey is must that are the people willing to pay for the estimated fares the metro travel?.
train is a very costly affair with cost of construction going as a high as Rs. 200-350 crore Rs per KM!. It need a very high passenger traffic to the tune of tens of thousands per hour just in order to recover the operational cost, leave aside the interest payment of very high initial costs.
Some of the factors which are very important for a city to merit a Metro construction
(1) Population, higher the population more is the expected traffic flow which could give enough revenue to recover costs of metro operation as well as repayment of huge loans taken for Metro. As per earlier reports, Metro Train is not likely to be feasible for a city less than 3 million population. Where as Metro has already been cleared for much smaller cities by the over enthusiastic officials/ politicians.
(2) Paying capacity or per capita income of the citizens. Metro is a highly capital intensive and give a higher class travel (air conditioned) travel, so the fare is likely to be much higher than the bus or suburban fares.
(3) Cities having very high fraction of private car and pvt. taxi users deserve the Construction of new Metro Train Project. These paxs are expected to switch over to Metro for the convenience, time and money saving at the cost of privacy.
(4) Life style/ spending habits of the citizens. City like Chandigarh may deserve a Metro more than the other cities of similar size due to typical life style and higher per capita income. Reverse is Kolkata which have respectable percapita income but the relatively conservative life style/ spending habits make it less lucrative for Metro as compared to other cities of similar size.
(5) Concentration of international tourists/ high spending tourists in a city add to the probability of success of the city.
(6) Cities having a higher concentration of youth (students), working classes, higher education/literacy adds to the probability of success. Education centers and IT cities like Bangalore, Pune, Secunderabad, Delhi, Mumbai etc very much fulfil such conditions.
(7) Existing facilities of mass transport in the city for the intracity travel. Existence of suburban trains, vast network of roads, Bus rapid transit systems etc have to be taken into account. Metro arrive later in Mumbai due to existing of high capacity and efficient suburban train system in addition to good bus services provided by BEST although over a grossly inadequate road network. But for Bangalore and Pune, the due to non existence of good suburban network or extensive Bus rapit Transit Systems, the necessity of Metro train is very much pronounced.
(8) Non fare revenue is an important source of revenue for Metro Rail systems to survive, hence the city must be a commercial/ industrial centre as well so that a substantial revenue can be generated by commercial exploitation of station area so as to ensure the financial viability of Metro operation.
Pune, one of the fastest growing Metropolitan area of the country, fits the bill very well (as compared to other cities where metro train project already under construction) when evaluated on above criteria. Its current population is around 60 lacs. In order to arrest haphazard growth around the city, the Metro Region has been expanded from 3300 SqKM to about 6620 SqKM, with an estimated population of whopping 1 Crore.
Pune could not get metro construction/train started till date mainly due to the fact that it is not a state capital and hence not well taken care of by state govt. Where as other state govts have successfully pushed Metro Projects for their capital cities which are less than half/quarter the importance/size, the deserving case of Pune is gathering dust and now this advisory by Urban Ministry!! Metro train
Projects costing in Rs. several 10s of thousands of crores, can not be treated like we open the door and projects start flowing in and we decide to close the door and no further new metro project come. They have to be taken after studying merit of a case. We don't have luxury of the theoretical thinking of bringing transformation of our Metro Cities. We have more urgent need, to debottleneck the the urban traffic crawling at an incredibly low avg. speeds as low as 6-12 kmph at many sections! which have made the life of citizens a hell. Cities shall automatically get transformed if we can debottleneck such choke points and make them commutable without any difficulties.
Were there any serious thoughts before clearing so many proposals for so many cities many of which are likely to be a financial liability on Govt/ municipal corporations? Today Successful Delhi Metro is an exceptional case, and even more than 3 decade old Kolkata Metro continues to bleed IR very heavily even today (thanks to Mr. ABA Gani Khan Choudhary). IR has now become wise and stopped undue meddling in the Metro projects which is basically a city subject with active involvement of Local Municipal Corporation/ State Govt/ Ministry of Urban Development.

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