Naidu advocates radical changes in urban planning

Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu has called for radical changes in urban planning to ensure reliable, efficient and affordable public transport

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NEW DELHI, November 24: Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu today called for radical changes in urban planning to ensure reliable, efficient and affordable public transport in urban areas because mobility in those areas of the country has come to be a harrowing experience. Inaugurating the Urban Mobility India Conference here Naidu expressed concern over lack of equity in the use of public spaces like roads in urban areas of the country, with car owning class using them more at the expense of common man. "Mobility in urban areas is the key determinant of quality of urban life. For many, life in urban areas is a nightmare. People move out of homes, mostly to make a living and this is turning out to be harrowing experience," Naidu said. Elaborating that the objective of developing smart cities is not to encourage use of private cars but to see that even car owners take to public transport. "Atal Mission seeks to promote non-motorised transport like walking and cycling to work." Stating that lack of first and last mile connectivity is affecting use of public transport, Naidu said New Delhi Municipal Council has been asked to conduct a study for providing such connectivity to metro services in NDMC area. He noted that infrastructure deficit in urban areas of the country is due to lack of adequate advance planning for future as the country is more used to plan for meeting shortages of yesterday. "Smart City Mission and Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) have been launched by the Prime Minister to reverse this trend so that cities can begin to prepare for future," he asserted. Expressing concern over rising motor vehicle population and its consequences like congestion lowering GDP by about 3.50 percent, rising accidents and air pollution, Naidu suggested proper integration of land use and transport planning, traffic demand management by increasing the cost of using private vehicles, promotion of efficient public transport and environment protection. In order to address these issues, Naidu suggested policy interventions like imposing deterrent congestion charges, tax measures to restrain owning and using personal vehicles, promoting vertical construction for dense living, effective parking policies . He also announced that next year the conference will be held in Ahmedabad and in 2017 it will be held in Hyderabad. The four-day Urban Mobility India Conference being jointly organised by the Ministry of Urban Development and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) seeks to bring Mayors, Municipal Commissioners, state government officials, experts from India and abroad and technology and service providers to discuss mobility related issues and acquaint with best practices. Over 1,200 delegates including 70 international delegates and 24 exhibitors are attending the conference.