September 5, 2013
- Ritam Halder , Press Trust of India
NEW DELHI: After a three-year delay, a three-level automated stack parking lot will open in the busy Karol Bagh on Thursday.The facility involves a mechanical lift that stacks vehicle at different levels.
The parking lot, located on Sat Bhirawan Road in Karol Bagh, was to be completed before the Commonwealth Games in 2010. But it missed several deadlines since 2009, when the plan was conceptualised.
The facility is expected to de-congest Karol Bagh — a prominent market area in the Capital — that faces a severe parking problem.
Local councillor Rajesh Bhatia said the new parking lot would help tackle the problem of congestion in Karol Bagh. “This project was being delayed for the past four years because of apathy on the part of civic body officials,” Bhatia said.
The parking rates at the new lot will be R10 for two hours and R10 for every subsequent two hours. The maximum charge for a whole day is R50 per day. The rates are a little higher than other surface parking lots run by the civic bodies. Vehicles at other municipal surface parking lots can be parked for R10 for 10 hours and R20 for 24 hours.
Experts reacted with caution when asked about the efficacy of the new system to address parking woes in the Capital.
Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director for research and advocacy of the Centre for Science and Environment, said a lot of factors needed to be considered before taking up any innovation. “There are several technologies available. The site and its approach play an important role in the usefulness of a parking innovation. The issue of lack of space is taken care of with this technology but it’s expensive,” Roychowdhury said.
The North Delhi Municipal Corporation has around 120 parking sites under its jurisdiction, of which 62 were tendered a few months back. A survey has been done for 100 other sites, of which 25 have been sent for traffic clearance. It also has four multi-level parking sites.
September 2, 2013
Vandana Keelor, TNN
NOIDA: In a first for Uttar Pradesh, Noida Authority is set to launch a project for deployment of a centrally controlled and coordinated traffic signal system. Soon Noida will be the only city in NCR to boast of a traffic control system equipped with geographical information system.
Expected to facilitate urban traffic management, the city’s over 100 traffic signals will be mapped allowing traffic to flow more smoothly. The second phase of the project will implement an intelligent traffic system to examine traffic on vital corridors and junctions and react according to the traffic congestion volume.
According to Authority officials, this new project is expected to rid the city of traffic congestion and gridlock during peak traffic hours. “The goal is to provide the most comfortable ride possible by getting the greatest number of vehicles through the system with the fewest stops,” Rama Raman, chairman and CEO (CCEO), Noida, said. “With the GIS or digital mapping, we intend to make road and traffic improvements besides implementing traffic enforcement,” Raman said.
As part of the project, 106 intersections in Noida have been serially numbered while 225 traffic light posts have been alphabetically configured. The new GIS-backed system will assist traffic authorities in maximizing the efficiency of the signals. “Once operational, a three-tier monitoring system will deal with malfunctioned traffic lights,” Sandeep Chandra, Noida Traffic Cell in-charge and senior project engineer, said.
In the second phase of the project, the traffic posts will be equipped with a full-fledged technology-driven signal system. “This will reduce the burden on traffic cops and make catching violators easy,” Raman said. “The idea is to use GIS and ITS for crime control and traffic monitoring,” he added.
With vehicular population growing at a fast pace, the system will not only ease traffic management but also provide relief to the city’s motorized traffic from congestion, as it will be able to calculate the number of cars at the intersections and accordingly change signals to clear traffic.
The ITS will be managed from a central traffic control centre, which will examine traffic on vital corridors and junctions across the city. It will allow traffic signals to communicate with each other and increase efficiency and lessen delays. CCTV cameras mounted on to the traffic signal will also decide the direction of vehicular flow to be prioritized based on vehicle density.
“The intelligent traffic lights will enable the operation of a green wave on certain corridors at rush hours, which will help vehicles move through successive intersections at a specified speed without stopping,” Chandra explained. “Besides providing streamlined traffic movement, the ITS will also use advanced image recognition, motion detection and vehicle license plate recognition technologies to lower speeding, red-light and parking violations.”
August 29, 2013
Sanjay Mehra is currently working as Professor, Vastu Kala academy, College Of Architecture, Delhi and has a total of twenty six years of professional experience that includes eleven years of academic experience. His work includes Understanding and working in a cultural framework keeping in mind the Socio-economic and physical infrastructure conditions. Working on available resources and their effective utilization for development that suits the context is the main concern. Developing new urban typology for existing cites/towns, that are constantly being invaded by modern infrastructure and technological advancement.
” Transport Corridors – Shaping Fringes”
It primarily skirts around the tolling system of roads along with their construction, operations management and the economics. Along with the materials and technology used in various parts of the world for the same, I believe that it is the prime objective of creating this platform.
I also feel that there are some other pertinent issues that need to be addressed while making a toll road. One of the fundamental issues is how it might affect the Development Process vis a vis accelerate the development process.
It would be interesting to note that most of the tolll roads planned in India are crossing areas that are undergoing changes and transformation that may affect the edges and boundary condition between toll road and the settlement where it is crossing. Here architecture may play an important role as to understand the role that fringes play and the kind of architecture that suits the edges.
This is my area of interest, to look at the edge conditions and define an interface between the settlement and a transport corridor..!!
This may answer larger issues of urbanization and city forms along the transport corridors.
August 23, 2013
It will re-circulate a Cabinet note on its proposal to allow financially stressed developers to defer payments of premia that they had committed to pay to win the highway projects. An additional option of cancelling the projects and re-bidding them would now be included in the note.
Road ministry officials said this note, which has been modified based on the finance minister P Chidambaram’s advice on the matter, will be sent to the Cabinet so that a final call can be taken at the highest level and the projects can finally start moving again.
“A clear decision needs to taken. We have asked NHAI to find out how many projects can be terminated. The decision on what to do for projects that fall under the premium restructuring case will be taken at the Cabinet level. But for the rest, we can decide on a course of action now,” said a senior road ministry official familiar with the issue, adding that NHAI has also been asked to determine which of the premium-based highway development project are indeed stressed and thus, deserve a bailout.
“We are studying around 35 highway projects of which 23 are premium-based (with premium of close to 1 lakh crore) and the rest are based on viability grant funding. We will basically divide the projects into four categories – projects where developers are ready to operate under the original parameters as long as we fulfill all our obligations, projects that should be terminated with penalty where the concessionaire has defaulted, projects which should be terminated without penalty where both the concessionaire and NHAI have failed to meet obligations, and those where developers are sitting on the fence and awaiting more clarity from the policy end,” said an NHAI official adding that the NHAI board will deliberate on this list in this in their upcoming board meeting on August 22.
The highway authority is reviewing whether these 35 contracts can be terminated either for developer default, NHAI default or both and the NHAI board will deliberate on this in their meeting later this week, the official said.
NHAI has been batting for the premium restructuring proposal that would allow developers in stalled projects to restructure their premium payment so that the financial stress is relieved. However, in May, the law ministry rejected it on grounds of legal and constitutional feasibility following which the road ministry referred the matter to the Committee of Secretaries (CoS) who did not support the proposal citing the law ministry’s objection. In July, after a fresh request from the road ministry, the law ministry backtracked on their previous advice and instead said the matter should be resolved between the finance and road ministries.
Earlier this month, the FM wrote to road minister Oscar Fernandes cautioning him of the ‘moral hazard’ in renegotiating contracts post-award and that the law ministry’s permission must be taken.
August 22, 2013
Why could’nt our expert designers and architects foresee this when they spent hundreds of crores and built this sophisticated airport, which is as functional as a bus station in Ethiopia ? Wading through rain water @ International Airport; dinghy service will start soon till taxi stand and return ………….!
August 22, 2013
The government of India has tried to blame the recent depreciation of the rupee against the US dollar on everything but the state of the Indian economy. Rupee has fallen because Indians buy too much gold, we have often been told over the last few moths.
Rupee has fallen because foreign investors have been withdrawing money in response to the decision of the Federal Reserve of United States to go slow on money printing in the time to come, is another explanation which is often offered.
While there is no denying that these factors have been responsible for the fall of the rupee, but the truth is a little more complicated than just that.
Mark Buchanan uses the term disequilibrium thinking in his new book Forecast – What Physics, Meteorology and the Natural Sciences Can Teach Us About Economics. He writes, “one of the key concepts of disequilibrium thinking is the notion of ‘metastability’ which explains how a system can seem stable, yet actually be highly unstable, much like the sulfrous coating on a match, ready to explode if it receives the right kind of spark. Inherently unstable and dangerous situations can persist untroubled for very long periods, yet also guarantee eventual disaster.”
The situation in India was precisely like that. The rupee was more or less stable against the dollar between November 2012 and end of May 2013. It moved in the range of Rs 53.5-Rs 55.5 to a dollar. This stability in no way meant that all was well with the Indian economy.
In a discussion yesterday on NDTV, Ruchir Sharma, Head of Emerging Markets Equity and Global Macro at Morgan Stanley Investment Management, provided a lot of data to show just that. In 2007, the current account deficit of India stood at $8 billion. In technical terms, the current account deficit is the difference between total value of imports and the sum of the total value of its exports and net foreign remittances.
The foreign exchange reserves of India in 2007 stood at $300 billion. So the foreign exchange reserves were 37.5 times the current account deficit. For 2013, the current account deficit is at $90 billion whereas the foreign exchange reserves are down to around $275 billion. So the foreign exchange reserves are now just three times the size of the current account deficit, in comparison to 37.5 times earlier.
Another worrying point is the import cover (foreign exchange reserves/monthly imports). It currently stands at 5.5 months, the lowest in 15 years. This is very low in comparison to other emerging markets (like China has 18 months of import cover, Brazil has 11 months).
Now what does this mean in simple English? It means that the demand for dollars has gone up much faster than their supply. And this did not happen overnight. It did not happen towards the end of May, when the rupee rapidly started losing value against the dollar. The situation has deteriorated over the last five to six years, while the government was busy doing other things.
Sharma gave out some other numbers as well. In 2007,the short term debt (or debt that needs to be repaid during the course of the year) stood at $80 billion. Currently it stands at around $170 billion. As and when this debt matures, it will have to repaid (unless its rolled over) and that would mean more demand for dollars and a greater pressure on the rupee. Given this, its not surprising that analysts are now predicting that the rupee soon touch 70 to a dollar.
What remains to be seen is whether companies which need to repay this debt are allowed to roll it over. The situation is very tricky given that 25% of Indian companies do not have sufficient cash flow to repay interest on their loans. The amount of loans to be repaid by top 10 Indian corporates has gone up from Rs 1000 billion in 2007 to Rs 6000 billion in 2013. This makes the Indian economy very vulnerable.
Politicians like to compare the current situation to 1991 and tell us that the current situation is not a repeat of 1991. In 1991, the import cover was down to less than a month. Currently it is around 5-6 months (depending on whose calculation you refer to). Hence, the situation is not as bad as 1991.
But the import cover is just one parameter that one can look at. The current account deficit in 1991, stood at 2.5% of the gross domestic product. Currently its around 4.8% of the GDP. Hence, the situation is much worse on this front than in 1991.
The government has tried to control the fall of the rupee against the dollar by making it difficult for Indian companies as well as individuals to take dollars abroad. But that was already happening. The amount of money Indian corporates invested abroad in 2008, stood at $21 billion. It has since come down to $7 billion. The amount of money taken abroad by individuals through legal channels remains minuscule.
The point is that the Indian economy has been extremely vulnerable for sometime, “much like the sulfrous coating on a match, ready to explode if it receives the right kind of spark.” It is just that where the spark will come from leading to explosion of the match, is hard to predict in advance.
As Buchnan puts it “the disequilibrium view….explains in simple terms why the moment of collapse is hard to predict: the arrival of the key triggering event is typically a matter of chance.” And this matter of chance in the Indian context came when Ben Bernanke, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve of United States, the American Central Bank, addressed the Joint Economic Committee of the American Congress ,on May 23, 2013.
As he said “if we see continued improvement and we have confidence that that is going to be sustained, then we could in – in the next few meetings – we could take a step down in our pace of purchases.”
Over the last few years, the Federal Reserve has been pumping money into the American financial system by printing money and using it to buy bonds. This ensures that there is no shortage of money in the system, which in turn ensures low interest rates. The hope is that at lower interest rates people will borrow and spend more, and this in turn will revive economic growth.
After nearly 5 years, some sort of economic growth has started to comeback in the United States. And given this, the expectation is that the Federal Reserve will start going slow on money printing in the months to come. This has pushed interest rates up in the United States making it more interesting for big international investors to invest their money in the United States than India.
This has led to them withdrawing money from India. Since the end of May nearly $10 billion of foreign money has been withdrawn from the Indian bond market. When these bonds are sold, foreign investors get paid in rupees. They need to convert these rupees into dollars, in order to repatriate their money abroad. This puts pressure on the rupee.
And this is how the decision of the Federal Reserve to go slow on money printing in the days to come has led to the fall of the rupee. This is the story that the government officials and ministers have been trying to sell to us. But the point to remember is that the decision of the Federal Reserve of United States to go slow on money printing was just the ‘spark’ that was needed to explode the ‘sulfrous coating on the match’ that the Indian economy had become. The spark could have come from somewhere else and the ‘sulfrous coating on the match’ would have still exploded leading to a crash of the rupee. Also, it is important to remember that foreign investors have not abandoned India lock, stock and barrel. When it comes to the bond market they have pulled out money to the tune of $10 billion. But they are still largely invested in the equity market. Since late May around $2 billion has been pulled out of the Indian equity market by the foreign investors. This when they have more than $200 billion invested in it.
Ruchir Sharma’s panelist in the NDTV discussion referred to earlier was Arun Shourie. He called the current rupee crisis a swadeshi crisis. It is time that the government realised this as well because the first step in solving any problem is recognising that it exists.
source: Mr. Vivek Kaul
Fear of Fed Retreat Roils India
August 22, 2013
August 19, 2013
Contact Ms. Kalpita Dighe firstname.lastname@example.org.
August 14, 2013
Clara Lewis, TNN |
MUMBAI: The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) is considering four options for constructing the Mumbai Trans-Harbour Link (MTHL) after the latest round of bidding failed to elicit interest from construction firms.
The MTHL is a 22-km sea link between Nhava and Sewri that will connect Mumbai to the hinterland and offer a quick getaway to Pune, Nashik and Goa.
The four options under consideration include a direct cash contract wherein the government foots the bill; the developer constructs the sea link and is paid back in annual installments; taking up the project under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) where the Centre will bear 35% of the cost, the state government 15% and the implementing agency (MMRDA) will bear 50% of the cost; and approaching either the World Bank or the Japan International Cooperation Agency for a loan on the lines of the loan for the Mumbai Urban Transport Project.
Senior MMRDA officials said within a month the proposals will be placed before chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, who also heads MMRDA.
The project was proposed in the 70s. However, the first serious attempt to build the bridge was made in 2008 but it fell through because of a dispute between the Ambani brothers. For the third time the government failed to get any bids for the bridge.
The project was to be developed on a build-operate-transfer basis in which the developer was to quote a price with interest, which he would recover in 35 years after building the link over five years. To address some of its financial risks, the Union finance ministry has sanctioned viability-gap funding to the tune of Rs 1,920 crore for the project.
A source said one of the reasons that no bid was made for the project was the uncertainty over the proposed international airport in Panvel. “If the airport does not take off then the projected 60,000 vehicles traversing the bridge daily will also not happen which makes the project will become unviable,” said a source.
Ministry of Road Transport and Highways to launch RFID based Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) system
August 14, 2013
ETC will enable automatic toll collection, vehicle identification and traffic monitoring.It would be installed at toll plazas on all national highways by the Indian Highways Management Company Limited by March 31, 2014.
The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways aims to rollout Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) across all the toll plazas on National Highways in the entire country by March 31, 2014.
This was stated by Dr. CP Joshi, the Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) here today while delivering the keynote address at a discussion organised on” India’s Highways – Next Gen Tolling and Corridor Management”.
Electronic Toll Collection is a system enabling collection of toll payments electronically allowing for near-nonstop toll collection and traffic monitoring. ETC utilizes vehicles equipped with transponders (electronic tags), wireless communication, in-road/roadside sensors and a computerized system (hardware and software) for uniquely identifying each vehicle, electronically collect toll, providing general vehicle/traffic monitoring and data collection.
Here is the text of Minister’s speech:
“I am confident that the daylong discussions would have sparked off ideas that have the potential of revolutionizing Tolling and Corridor Management on Indian Highways. The mission of Government of India has been to make quality highway network across the country and make the system transparent and responsive. In our bid to do so I am glad to share that by the end of this financial year we would complete construction of nearly 3000 kilometers of National highways, which is a record till date.
Along with constructing highways we are also re working our systems to sync with times. To make the system transparent we first introduced e-tendering, followed it with pilot project to Electronically Collect Toll. Now we have a vision to mark national highway network on maps making it compatible to mobile devices and even have apps for highway network.
I will elaborate a bit on our endeavor to implement RFID based Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) system across National Highways. The RFID technology shall expedite the clearing of traffic at toll plazas and the need of carrying cash shall also be eliminated when toll plazas shall be duly integrated with each other throughout India.
We started a Pilot Project on ETC last year in April at Parwanoo on NH-5. The pilot is being carried successfully and concessionaires have been requested to work out necessary modalities with the ETC solution providers and banks for setting up of Central Clearing House (CCH).
A few more stretches have also been selected for ETC implementation. They are Mumbai – Ahmedabad, Chennai- Bangalore and Gurgaon – Jaipur – Beawar. I would like to assert that by March 31, 2014 we aim to implement ETC across all the toll plazas on our National Highways. For implementation of nationwide electronic toll collection we have recently constituted Indian Highways Management Company Limited (IHMCL) with equity partnership from NHAI (50%) Concessionaries (25%) and institutions (25%).
Government of India is also amending the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989 for fitment of RFID tag on vehicles by the automobile manufacturers. I am happy that Feedback Brista Highways OMT Pvt Limited (FBH) has organized this special session to discuss the issues that affect user comfort at the Toll Plazas and how we can develop an effective and efficient mechanism at Toll Plazas on National Highways.
Our endeavor will be to develop policies and systems for happy user experience on Indian Highways through better safety measures and lower waiting time at the Toll Plazas. We will be happy to partner with the Government of Portugal to develop a mechanism for better cooperation and collaboration in this regard.”
Source: Press Information Bureau