NEW DELHI, Apr 19: As it looks to transform polluted and congested urban metropolises into smart and green cities, the Centre is studying a proposal for developing a new, elevated electricity-based mass rapid transport system (MRTS).
"As far as the future of transport in the country is concerned, a proposal has come for an electricity-based elevated transport system. The capital cost of this model is one-fourth compared to that of the Metro," Union Road Transport and Highway Minister Nitin Gadkari said.
He said that with the rising number of vehicles on the streets putting a burden on the environment and choking movement within the metros "we need to think of an electricity -run mass rapid transport system".
"All the technical testing under this proposal is being done and it has been also proposed that it be tried at some places on a priority basis... So, after doing all the technical analysis and getting the approval of the Cabinet and the Prime Minister, we will think about it," Gadkari told PTI in an interview.
Asked for more details, he said, "I don't think it'd be appropriate to talk any further about it at this juncture...
but...all the technical testing is being done and soon we will talk about it."
The minister said that the smart cities of the future will have "green fuel, water recycling, health education facilities, good roads, parks, industrial and economic zones, job opportunities, low-cost housing for the poor, land development, solid and liquid waste management and a pollution -free, good development model".
"At present, Rs 6 lakh crore worth of petrol and diesel is being imported. If we can use electricity as a fuel substitute, then that would reduce pollution too. Besides, we are also looking at e-rickshaws and biofuel-driven buses and other modes of transport that would further cut down carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide levels," he said.
For the national capital, Gadkari said that the government has already planned a new ring road and efforts are on to "identify traffic bottlenecks" which need removing.
"To decongest Delhi, we have the new ring road -- the Eastern Peripheral Road -- which we have decided to build at a cost of Rs 6,000 crore. It is a cement-concrete road, and work on it will begin in one month.
"Tenders we have already received, only the permission is pending and, as and when we get it, we will start the work," he said.