DMRC Chief hints need for creation of Unified Transport Authority in Delhi

Absence of Unified Transport Authority hurting city

Mangu SinghDelhi: Delhi Metro Chief Mangu Singh highlighted the need for a unified transport authority and the importance of city-level governance to look after issues related to the transport sector on Friday.

“In our country, we formally recognise two levels of government – the state and centre. The third level – city government – is hardly existing. There is no unified authority that can control things related to the transport sector,” said Singh at the Confederation of Indian Industry International Conference on Urban Mass Transportation here.

He said an inefficient transport system is harmful for the economy as a lot of money is spent on importing fuel from other countries.

“The transport scenario in our major cities is such that there is heavy congestion on the roads,” said Singh.

“Apart from the man hours lost in transit, the pollution level is increasing,” he added.

“There is a lack of an overall unified transport authority. And in this scenario, an efficient public transport system is the only solution,” Singh added.  “The traffic scenario in the cities is one of heavy congestion and average speed in single digits… We can say we are back to the bullock-cart age.

“Inefficient transportation in our city is detrimental to our economy as many man-hours are lost in transit. (Also) pollution is very high. There is a lack of an overall unified transport authority,” Singh said.

The DMRC MD was speaking at an international conference organised by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) on Urban Mass Transportation with a focus on Metro and Light Rail.

All over the world, transportation systems for cities and their municipal authority rests with the mayor, he said, adding, “Who is controlling Delhi?… This is the biggest problem. There is no unified authority. Efficient public transportation system is the only solution.”

Singh lauded DMRC for its effective functioning as it operates a 190-km long metro system which carries over 26 lakh passengers daily.

He said following in the successful footsteps of DMRC, other cities like Jaipur, Kochi, Hyderabad, Lucknow and Pune were also in advanced stages of planning their own metro networks.

But the pace of construction of these networks is not adequate and has to be expedited, the DMRC chief said.

The cost of metro railway construction in India is the lowest compared to anywhere in the world considering the paying capacity of the people, Singh said, adding that CII can assist Metro authorities in identifying ways to further reduce overall costs of building such transportation networks.

Noting that not many people who work at these construction sites are technically qualified and experienced, Singh said CII can identify ways of training these labourers to ensure that the cost of construction comes down while its pace increases.

To a question about DMRC taking over the Airport Express line, the DMRC MD said, “We are already running it, de facto, we are looking after the operations.”

The conference provided a platform for industry professionals to come together and address issues pertaining to the transport sector, and find solutions that can help improve the quality and effectiveness of land transport systems.