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Good Governance: Transport planning




We have seen in the past as to how the various state and national authorities in the past have always under-performed in terms of transport planning. So, we have the scene where the roads between big cities and their suburbs are extremely congested at most times, where any big plans to improve roads such as the Golden Quadrilateral project are seen as major improvement projects (instead of a normal expectation of having good raods), where the amount of money and time lost in inter-state commerce / transport of goods is a major economic drag (the cost in terms of fuel, tyres and general wear and tear on vehicles itself is a major cost), and where large sections of the rural population are cut off because of bad roads and poor connections.
So, it is very surprising when one sees news of such projects such as the plan to have a mono-rail connection between Mumbai and its suburbs; it is difficult to credit our planners with such foresight. However, if this is genuine and a part to have an integrated transport plan for the region, then it would be great:

The monorail, a light mass transit medium earlier considered for short routes within the city, including between the two airports, is now being proposed for an integrated transport system to link satellite townships around the city. The monorail proposal was discussed when commissioners and mayors of Navi Mumbai, Bhiwandi, Kalyan-Dombivli, Ulhasnagar, Mira-Bhayander and Thane held a meeting with Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority commissioner Ratnakar Gaikwad on Saturday.

The monorail is now being seen as a supplement to the road and rail transport facilities that already exist in suburban areas on the outer limits of the city region. Gaikwad said that in addition to transport, detailed plans would be drawn up for a proper sewerage system and public toilets in the emerging cities. “All of this will be taken up under the Nirmal MMR Abhiyan,” he said. No costs have been mentioned as the projects are still at the discussion level.

The other major problem that we normally see in such critical projects is the delays that happen due to lack of political will to make sure that all the hindrances that are coming in the way of such projects such as land acquisition, governmental clearances, people resettlement, etc. We have already seen this in major projects such as the National Highways scheme, the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway, etc. On the other hand, we can already see the benefits of major transport projects such as the completed stretches of the Golden Quadrilateral, the Delhi Metro, the Konkan Railways, etc. All of them show major transport ease for travelers, reduced time and money, environmental benefits, etc.




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