Author : Rumi Aijaz

Expert Speak Urban Futures
Published on Sep 27, 2022 Updated 24 Days ago
The MPD 2041 can be the framework to guide the future growth of the city and address the inherent planning issues.
Transport and environment proposals for Delhi There are strong functional linkages between Delhi and cities/villages in neighbouring states of Haryana, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh. Every day, a large number of people commute to Delhi for work, study, or trade-related reasons. While people are benefitting from the opportunities available, the large to and fro movement places tremendous pressure on the existing infrastructure, services, and the environment of Delhi. The concerned administration agencies’ inability to respond to the dynamic situation in a proper manner has resulted in several problems. To address the problems, a collaborative planning and development strategy is being pursued by concerned state governments with the support of the Centre. This is due to the realisation that regional problems—as well as requirements—cannot be dealt with solely through the independent efforts of city-level agencies.

The extension of the Delhi metro rail corridor to nearby cities of Bahadurgarh, Gurugram, Faridabad, Ghaziabad, and Noida, has greatly helped in improving regional mobility.

The regional initiative aims to ensure balanced development in the National Capital Region (NCR). This aim is being achieved by upgrading rural and urban settlements and implementing various types of development projects at a regional scale. For example, the extension of the Delhi metro rail corridor to nearby cities of Bahadurgarh, Gurugram, Faridabad, Ghaziabad, and Noida, has greatly helped in improving regional mobility. Its other benefits are reduced traffic congestion and carbon emissions.

Addressing the issue: Master Plan for Delhi

The upcoming master plan for Delhi (MPD 2041) offers further ideas to address unattended regional issues. It gives priority to regional connectivity, transport infrastructure, and the environment. Travelling in the region is not easy, particularly for low-income communities, as many places/travel corridors remain uncovered by public transport services. Other communities have overcome this problem by purchasing and using motor vehicles. This pattern of living has led to a huge rise in the number of private motor vehicles, and related issues of traffic jams, carbon emissions, and increasing temperatures. To facilitate multi-modal traffic flows and commuter movement, the draft plan proposes upgradation of existing railway stations and inter-state bus terminals (ISBTs), development of new regional road/rail corridors and public transport interchange facilities, proper location and integration of upcoming regional rapid transit system (RRTS) stations with other mass transit stations. An 82.5-km long RRTS corridor is being built to connect Delhi with Meerut. The demand for freight-related facilities, such as storage, and parking for goods vehicles is proposed to be met by developing new regional integrated freight complexes (IFCs), and modernisation of existing IFCs. For superior transport planning and implementation, and better coordination of daily operations, the constitution of a Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority (UMTA), proposed by the previous MPD, is re-emphasised.

To facilitate multi-modal traffic flows and commuter movement, the draft plan proposes upgradation of existing railway stations and inter-state bus terminals (ISBTs), development of new regional road/rail corridors and public transport interchange facilities, proper location and integration of upcoming regional rapid transit system (RRTS) stations with other mass transit stations.

The air quality in NCR is poor during most months. While natural factors, such as dust storms, play a role in reducing air quality, this is primarily due to the conduct of human activities such as the use of low quality motor vehicle/industrial fuels, terrible road and building construction methods, and inadequate disposal of agricultural/municipal waste. The importance of maintaining greenery and surface water bodies for controlling air pollution is well understood by civic agencies. However, considerable neglect is noted in this regard. The draft MPD 2041 stresses the need to maintain green buffers/green belts at the periphery of Delhi as well as along the course of the river Yamuna. This work involves planting trees and plants, which will act as pollution filters and also control the problem of local area heating. Protecting the rich flora and fauna of Aravalli ridge, which is spread over parts of Delhi, Haryana, and Rajasthan is the other recommended measure. There have been instances of unauthorised constructions at some locations. The authorities in Haryana are also interested in carrying out development activities in a planned manner. Such practices are a threat to the biodiversity of the ridge. The growing pollution in river Yamuna is another concern. At several places along the course of the river, untreated wastewater, industrial effluents, and garbage are released. A similar problem is observed in Delhi’s Najafgarh lake, which receives untreated sewage from Gurugram. The impurities in surface water bodies harm wildlife and low-income communities dependent on such bodies. Treatment of wastewater before disposal and garbage processing/recycling are some suggested measures. The paragraphs above describe planning proposals contained in draft MPD 2041 for improving transportation and the environment in Delhi. Early implementation of these proposals is dependent on the early finalisation of the draft plan by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA).

The plan offers clean and affordable solutions for residue management, such as extensive use of bio-decomposer, and use of paddy straw in biomass power projects.

In addition to these proposals, more planning interventions are needed to address unresolved issues in the region. First, some of the busiest road travel corridors, such as the Delhi-Gurugram section of the national highway (NH No. 48), or the Gurugram-Faridabad highway, should be equipped with efficient mass public transit systems/bus services. Presently, thousands of motor vehicle owners use these corridors every day, and administrative inefficiencies in traffic management result in jams and poor air quality. On the other hand, people relying on public transport buses face problems of inadequate and infrequent services. Secondly, all inter-city bus and metro rail stations should be served by local feeder bus services to address the issues of first/last mile connectivity and traffic congestion outside stations. Such services were made available outside some metro rail stations on a trial basis. However, private bus operators withdrew their operations as they were dissatisfied with the nature of the contract agreement with the government agency. Due to the non-availability of such services, a large number of people use their motor vehicles to reach the stations where parking lots are unable to accommodate a large number of vehicles. Those who do not own vehicles face difficulty in travelling to/from the stations. Finally, with regard to the issue of declining air quality, particularly during winter months, caused by stubble burning in the states of Haryana, Punjab, and Uttar Pradesh, the concerned state and local governments must consider the implementation of an action plan formulated by the Commission on Air Quality Management in NCR and adjoining areas. The plan offers clean and affordable solutions for residue management, such as extensive use of bio-decomposer, and use of paddy straw in biomass power projects. Financial assistance is also provided to farmers for the purchase of crop residue management machines. They also have the option of hiring machines from custom hiring centres. To conclude, most people living in Delhi face difficulties in commuting due to inadequate public transportation services and pollution. The concerned state and local governments must work towards the early resolution of these problems.
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Author

Rumi Aijaz

Rumi Aijaz

Rumi Aijaz is Senior Fellow at ORF where he is responsible for the conduct of the Urban Policy Research Initiative. He conceived and designed the ...

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