Delhi will have country’s first ‘smart city’

January 5, 2015

NEW DELHI: Delhi will be developed into a “global city” and the country’s first ‘smart city’ will be set up here to decongest the national capital and facilitate it with all modern amenities, Union urban development minister M Venkaiah Naidu said here on Saturday.

smart-city-1Delhi will be developed into a “global city” and the country’s first ‘smart city’ will be set up here to decongest the national capital and facilitate it with all modern amenities.



“We want to make Delhi a truly global city, having all latest and modern amenities and facilities that any other global city like London or San Francisco has. We want to have world-class entertainment venues like Disneyland or Universal Studios here,” Naidu said.


Source:Times Of India

Automated parking operational in Connaught Place

September 23, 2014

As part of the ‘smart city’ plan of the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), the automated parking complete with boom barriers and variable signs is ready and functioning at the F Block of Connaught Place.

By the end of the month, the entire area would have automated parking facility. After cracking whip on the parking mafia, the municipal body had handed over the 99 parking lots within its jurisdiction to the Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System Limited (DIMTS) for consultancy and for deciding on the technical inputs.

The aim was to put in place a structured system and ensure that all revenues are captured at the back end. The private contractors mafia continued to park cars even when the parking area used to be full. It led to congestion in many areas.

With the new system in place, once the parking area is full the automated computerised board will show the next available spot, indicating the driver to take the car to the next stop. In this case, it will be the next block in CP.

“If the space is full then no car will be allowed to enter that particular parking lot,” an NDMC official said. NDMC hopes to have a proper system ensuring high-tech safety for the cars. “The bollard system has been set up that will be updating the space available for parking and bring in order to the current chaos,” the official added.

“True that people will have to walk a little more than usual. But once the system is in place that habit will be induced among them,” he said.

“Our next endeavour will be to have an online system for reserving parking lots to ease congestion in any area. It will allow people to book parking slots by visiting the NDMC website,” said an NDMC official.

“Numerical analysis and billboard system will bring order in Connaught Place, Janpath, Sarojini Market, Khan Market, Shankar Market over a period of time,” said NDMC chairman Jalaj Srivastava.

Source:India today

To unclog Delhi, hop into a streetcar named strategy

September 10, 2014

Fighting congestion by widening a road is like loosening your belt to fight obesity’ – US-based traffic engineer Walter Kulash’s observation about Orlando couldn’t have been more appropriate for Delhi.

To unclog the streets of Delhi, what we first need is an exhaustive and specific study to understand what clogs our roads. The city’s top experts believe that instead of incremental and reactive measures such as building one flyover after another, what Delhi needs is a comprehensive transport policy.

Hindustan Times has been running a month-long series ‘Unclog Delhi’ and as part of the campaign, we invited the top transport and planning experts of Delhi for a brainstorming session. One issue on which all experts agreed was the immediate need for a vision document for Delhi’s transport planning and an umbrella body that could coordinate with the multitude of authorities to come up with an integrated transport plan.

 ”Delhi doesn’t have a stated, comprehensive transport policy. It only has an operational plan prepared in 2003,” said Nalin Sinha, Director, Initiative for Transportation and Development Programmes. Sinha said all transport-related initiatives in the city are taken in an ad hoc manner in the absence of a stated policy.

AK Jain, former commissioner (planning), Delhi Development Authority, said that instead of a study of Delhi’s traffic demand management, short-term measures such as creating more flyovers and roundabouts are taken to deal with immediate problems.

Sinha emphasised on the need for an umbrella body for transport planning. “In most cities with successful transport and traffic scenario such as New York and London, it is the municipality’s responsibility,” he said. “In Delhi, the transport department reports to the government and is responsible for giving licenses, municipalities do not have time to handle anything beyond water and sewage, the DTC is autonomous, DDA does only land planning and PWD only builds roads and flyovers. Everyone passes the buck,” he said.

The experts also believe that instead of planning just the smooth movement of cars, transport planning should focus on the mobility of more people in a faster way. “There is no road designing in Delhi. Most roads have been designed just for motor vehicles,” said AK Bhattacharjee, former director, Unified Traffic and Transportation Infrastructure (Planning & Engineering) Centre (UTTIPEC).

He said that Delhi’s streets have been designed as highways, which lack all components to ensure equitable distribution of road space for all, including pedestrians and cyclists. “Of the Rs. 3,500 crore budget for transport in Delhi, Rs. 2000 crore goes into building flyovers. What about other transport and road infrastructure?” he said.

Strengthening Delhi’s public transport system and making it more seamless could help wean away people from private transport but what is required is proper last-mile connectivity, something the Delhi Metro sorely needs in spite of emerging as Delhi’s lifeline.

“When you have a world-class Metro in Delhi, why can’t you invest in last-mile connectivity?” said Professor PK Sarkar, head of transport planning department, School of Planning and Architecture. “Is flyover an essential requirement or do you have to see greater mobility?” he said.

Dr Sewa Ram, Associate Professor, School of Planning and Architecture, said that the issue of feeder services for Metro has been completely neglected when that and auto rickshaws should be a part of a lay-out plan. “There should be operational integration between different modes of public transport and fare integration on the principle of defined time, defined value. There is a need for a common mobility card,” he said.

“Ideally, one should spend two-third of the funds on the main route and one-third on the feeder service. What is happening is the opposite. People end up paying more on feeder services and less in Metro,” he said.

“Along Metro lines, traffic has gone up by 2-3% but away from Metro lines, traffic has seen a 9% growth rate. Mass transport has reduced traffic growth rate,” said Dr K Ravinder, senior scientist, Central Road Research Institute.

Jain said that alternative modes of transport can be used to lessen the pressure on Delhi’s roads. One such way is energising the existing Ring Railway of the city. He also said that radical innovations, such as using Delhi’s canals, which measure about 350 km, as waterways can also be looked into.

Source:Hindustan Times

Delhi to have 8,000 CCTV cameras by 2015

August 4, 2014

By the end of 2015, the city will be placed under the watch of 8,000 cameras, announced Delhi Police Commissioner B.S. Bassi on Sunday.

At present, the Delhi Police have just over 4,000 cameras which are installed mainly in busy market areas, traffic intersections and borders for round-the-clock surveillance. The footage captured by these is monitored at the district control rooms by the traffic wing and at the Delhi Police’s Command, Control, Communication, Computing and Intelligence (C4i) centre.

Mr. Bassi was speaking while inaugurating a CCTV Camera Project at Civil Lines under the Delhi Police Neighbourhood Watch Scheme at Shah Auditorium here. Under the project, funded by Residents’ Welfare Association Club Class, 67 CCTV cameras have been installed at various places including the market area, all the entry and exit gates of Civil Lines, and other important points.

What makes this project the first of its kind in Delhi is that the footage captured in these cameras can be viewed at a control room in Civil Lines police station in real time. In all other localities where RWAs have placed cameras, the footage is first recorded and then the recordings are made available to the police on request.

The total cost of the project is around Rs.20 lakh.

Mr. Bassi said the technology used by the Delhi Police is far more advanced and a similar project, if taken up by the Delhi Police, would have cost between Rs.70 lakh to Rs.80 lakh. He also acknowledged that in the past, funds sanctioned for such purposes have never been enough to cover entire Delhi under CCTV surveillance.

He said: “It is good that city residents are coming up with surveillance projects fully funded by themselves. It will be of great help to the police in combating crime in the Capital.”

Source:The Hindu

Autorickshaws in Delhi to go off roads tomorrow

July 28, 2014

Striking auto-rickshaw drivers on Monday. (Ravi Kanojia)
Protesting against corruption in Delhi Traffic Police department, autorickshaws to go off roads for a day. (Source: Ravi Kanojia)

A large number of autorickshaws in Delhi will go off roads on Monday against alleged highhandedness of traffic police and transport department.

“We have decided to go on one-day strike on Monday as we are continuously being harassed by the traffic police officials. We are not allowed to take passengers from Railway stations and Metro stations unless we pay a fixed amount to them,” Delhi Autorickshaw Sangh general secretary Rajendra Soni said.

Singh alleged, “Traffic cops sit in civil dress in our auto and ask for bribe. When we refuse, they seize our vehicles or impose heavy fines on drivers. We have also taken up the matter with Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Joint CP (traffic) Anil Shukla, but nobody has paid any heed to our demand. Auto drivers now don’t have any option but to go on strike.”

The autorickshaw union members said that Central Government should immediately take steps to prevent “corruption” in Traffic Police.

There are around 80,000 autorickshaws plying in the national capital. Delhi Autorickshaw Sangh claimed that they have a control over the maximum numbers of autorickshaws in the city.

According to Delhi Autorickshaw Sangh, around 1,000 autorickshaw drivers recently had surrendered their vehicles, which completed their 15 years permitted age, for the replacement, but the Transport Department is not issuing certificates to drivers to purchase new autos from the market.

“We are very upset with the transport department, which is not allowing drivers to have new vehicles despite the fact that they have surrendered their old vehicles for scrapping,” Rajendra added.

He threatened that if their demand is not fulfilled in the next three-four days, the autorickshaw will go off roads from 4 PM everyday.

Meanwhile, Delhi BJP chief Satish Upadhyay today called upon Police Commissioner B S Bassi to take cognisance of allegations by autorickshaw drivers.

The BJP leader also appealed to auto drivers not to go on strike.

“BJP strongly condemns any type of corruption and it is important that Delhi Police put its house in order so that such complaints don’t rise. BJP appeals to Auto Rickshaw drivers to not to go on strike and assured them that their lawful demands will be supported,” Satish Upadhyay said.


Source:The Hindu

Centre looks at options to finance Delhi-Jaipur e-way

November 14, 2013

Mihir | New Delhi |


SUMMARY–Road transport ministry is looking at a slew of options, including a two per cent surcharge on the sale of land for residential purposes along the expressway.


To part-finance the cost of constructing the 265-km Delhi-Jaipur expressway project, the road transport ministry is looking at a slew of options, including a two per cent surcharge on the sale of land for residential purposes along the expressway.

The funds collected by way of the surcharge, according to the proposal, will be routed to the Central government and used subsequently for the purpose of constructing the expressway.

“Our estimates show that this surcharge will give us around Rs 4,700 crore, which will fund a large part of our project cost. If you exclude the cost of land acquisition, the project is estimated to cost around Rs 7,000 crore,” said a senior road transport ministry official.

He further explained that any residential project along the expressway will need entry and exit points for its traffic and this surcharge will be a payment for providing that exit to those residential colonies.

The Delhi-Jaipur expressway is the first expressway project that the Central government hopes to work on. The other expressway projects in the pipeline are the Delhi-Meerut, Mumbai-Vadodra and Eastern Peripheral expressways.

This proposal, along with others, will be discussed by an Inter-ministerial Council headed by the road secretary and have members from the finance ministry, Planning Commission and the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).

The other proposals include developing the expressway by funding the shortfall through a viability gap funding, allowing the company developing the project rights to collect tolls also on the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway and Delhi-Jaipur highway after their concession period is over and government funding the construction of the project.

“Allowing the expressway company to collect toll on the other highway connecting Jaipur will also take care of the competing highway issue. Enabling the expressway concessionaire to collect toll on these highway should not be a problem, as we will put a clause in the bid document for Delhi-Jaipur expressway,” said the official. He added that the concession period for Delhi-Jaipur will end in 2023 and Delhi-Gurgaon is set to end by 2024.

According to current estimates, the Delhi-Jaipur expressway would not be able to break even in terms of total traffic that would use it. It is estimated that the expressway will cater to a traffic of 25,000 passenger cars daily but requires 42,000 passenger cars to break even.

The NHAI had raised a question on the viability of the project and said that it was neither feasible through toll nor through government funding. It had also said that private companies would not be interested in getting into a high-cost expressway project at this juncture.



MG Road greenbelt encroached upon

September 12, 2013


GURGAON: Several stretches of the greenbelt on MG Road, starting from the Delhi-Gurgaon border to IFFCO Chowk have been encroached upon by various roadside businesses, starting from chat-wallahs to stalls selling Chinese and other fast foods to vends selling liquor to makeshift stalls dealing with scrap metals.

“The greatest irony about MG Road is that while the restaurants pay all the taxes and rentals, these makeshift eateries operate without permission, that too, on illegal space. These stalls, especially the liquor vends, are a nuisance in the area,” said Karan Bedi, director, JMD Limited.

 According to a source, the scrap vendors near Bristol Chowk are connected with powerful politicians and that’s the reason the Gurgaon administration has not been able to evict them from the site.

“The administration talks about safety and security on MG Road. But, how can there be any safety when liquor shops are running openly and there is no check on them? Even the other vendors on the greenbelt are a great threat to safety and security. Who will be responsible if some untoward incident takes place,” asked Manish Yadav, a social activist from DLF-II.

All the major malls in the city are located on MG Road. The encroachers have created such a mess in the area that people coming to Bristol Hotel and the Grand Mall face a lot of trouble. “I feel unsafe to do shopping on MG Road malls after dusk not because of the pubs located inside the mall but because of the machans of the liquor shops,” said Usha Khanna, a customer at one of the MG Road malls.

“MG Road turns into a ‘V’ near Bristol Hotel and the spot witnesses frequent traffic jams. Vendors sitting in the areas, with cars parked near their shops and establishments are a cause of concern for all,” said Deepak Verma, an office-bearer of Sushant Lok RWA.

HUDA Administrator Praveen Kumar said, “The problem has been pointed out by residents and customers. We are aware of the problems of the residents. A few months ago, we had removed all the encroachers from the stretch. Since the repair work on the road is going on, we are not taking any action right now. We will take action against the encroachers after the repair work is over.”



Shortsighted plan caused eway’s doom?

September 9, 2013

Siddhartha Rai , Hindustan Times  Gurgaon,


A goal without a plan is just a wish: the saying fits well in the case of Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway. The ambitious project, which was supposed to breach the barrier between the rural and the urban in Gurgaon, was doomed even before it took off, thanks to lack of planning and farsightedness.

In 2009, a parliamentary committee reviewed the effectiveness of public-private partnership in the execution of the expressway after a performance audit of the project by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG).

The committee took a stern view of the planning “deficiencies” as “many critical items which should have been foreseen at the time of preparation of the detailed project report were omitted”.

  ”The expressway suffers from several macro-level planning flaws. The worst part is it was not foreseen that the road would be used by the Gurgaon traffic itself. Also, no thought was given about linking the two sides of the expressway in such a way that the main highway traffic was not disturbed. Congestions develop as local traffic gets mingled with highway traffic,” said Rohit Baluja, president of Institute of Road Traffic Education and director of College of Traffic Management.

These critical items of public interest were later covered under a changed scope of work order that amounted to nearly Rs. 150crore or 21% cost overruns. These neglected items included increasing the height of underpasses by two metres, construction of elevated stretches and additional underpasses, and pedestrian crossing facilities at appropriate places, among other things.

These items were the ones that became the kernel of a public movement in Gurgaon. Moreover, the parliamentary committee found the arguments extended by the ministry of road transport and highways as “nothing but lame excuses”.

“You cannot take any such report (CAG performance audit, 2008) as the final word. There is no inherent design or planning flaw with the expressway. Nobody could foresee the quantum of development in Gurgaon and thus could not anticipate this level of traffic. The main problem with the expressway is that of operation and efficiency. There can be many measures which can be taken by the concessionaire to correct things,” said RP Indoria, former director general (roads) and ex-special secretary, ministry of road transport and highways. Expressway concessionaire DGSCL, however, declined to comment on the issue.

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) had tried to argue before the committee that these changes had to be made in the light of unanticipated exponential growth in the areas around the highway.

The parliamentary committee made short work of these “excuses”. It harked back to the original traffic survey conducted by engineering consultancy company RITES in 2000 and marked that the development in the area referred to by the NHAI was not an expectation-defying explosion — the actual traffic volume in 2009 had been less than that projected by RITES.

“This negates the claim of the government of sudden rapid development in the areas around the expressway,” the committee had observed, adding, “Lamentably, these deficiencies have cost the exchequer a whopping Rs. 146crore that had to be paid by the government.” The parliamentary committee finally observed that the NHAI had tried to “camouflage” the “serious deficiencies” in the project, its “lack of professional competence” and “defective system of assessment” in the name of changes at the insistence of the Delhi and Haryana governments.


Delhi-Gurgaon e-way plight may lead to industry’s flight

September 9, 2013

Siddhartha Rai, Hindustan Times  Gurgaon,

Business may take flight from Gurgaon owing to the regular traffic muddle at the toll plazas on the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway, despite the fact that Gurgaon is home to nearly 250 Fortune500 companies.

The toll plazas — Sirhaul and Kherki Daula — have become impediments to the expansion of commercial and industrial activities in Gurgaon as inordinate congestion have bred a negative sentiment among the business community.

“Because of the toll plazas we decided to shift ten of our plants to Bahadurgarh. Three months ago we had chosen Gurgaon to set up our new corporate office, but the management refused citing the traffic jams at the toll plazas, especially Sirhaul. They did not want executives to get stuck in jams for hours at end. So we shifted the office to Rohini,” said BS Dagar, general manager (HR), Relaxo Footwears Ltd.

Dagar informed that discussions with corporate honchos in his capacity as the chairman of the National HRD Forum revealed that the corporate world was fast losing its fascination with Gurgaon as the favoured destination for setting up industrial units or office spaces.

“Business heads from several companies have told me that they are not going to set up their units in Gurgaon because no one has time to withstand the long queues and traffic snags at the Sirhaul or the Kherki Daula toll plazas,” said Dagar.

Pankaj Tyagi, deputy general manager (operations) at MM Auto and a resident of Gurgaon, said, “My company has units in Manesar and Udyog Vihar and it is a painstaking job for us as well as the workers to commute across the plazas. I hardly have any time left for my kids and family as traffic bottlenecks at the toll plazas take up all my time. It leads to domestic issues, too.”

Similarly, there are not many takers for office spaces in the towering buildings of Manesar IT Park. The developers say almost 90% office space at the park is unoccupied, thanks to the traffic bottlenecks at Kherki Daula toll and Hero Honda Chowk.

Launched in 2006 under the campus development scheme at Sector 8 of Industrial Model Township (IMT), the park was promoted by Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (HSIIDC) which allotted big-size plots (10 acres each) to private developers based on the Chinese walk-to-work model.

Real estate development major Shapoorji Pallonji has raised an info-city at the IT Park.

The firm, however, believes that the commutation woes along the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway put the prospective clients off.

It’s free-for-all on Delhi- Gurgaon e-way lanes

September 9, 2013

Deevakar Anand and Leena Dhankhar, Hindustan Times  Gurgaon,


Confusion over the speed limit on the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway has made it one of the most dangerous stretches in the National Capital Region (NCR). Surprisingly, the controlled-access expressway has two different speed limits for its Delhi and Gurgaon stretches. Nearly 430 commuters have lost their lives on the 18-kilometre portion of the expressway in Gurgaon since it inaugurated in January 2008, according to data available with the Gurgaon traffic police. Officials said the number of fatalities would be much higher if accidents that occurred on the remaining 10-km stretch of the expressway, that falls in Delhi, is included in the death toll.

Experts blame the lack of lane driving and minimal enforcement of speed limits by authorities as the main reason for the high number of casualties. The lack of clarity about speed limits on the highway is also another grey area.

While the Delhi stretch has the maximum speed limit of 70 kilometre per hour for light motor vehicles, it is 80 kilometre per hour in Gurgaon. “We had suggested authorities to have a uniform speed limit along the entire stretch of the expressway. However, these speed limits were finally decided by the traffic authorities of the respective states,” said a spokesperson of the toll operator Delhi-Gurgaon Super Connectivity Limited (DGSCL). Bharti Arora, deputy commissioner of police (traffic), Gurgaon, claimed her department did not have a role in deciding the speed limits on national highways. The risk of accidents goes up manifold as cars and buses run at an average speed of 100 kmph on the expressway, while there is no check on slow-moving vehicles such as two- wheelers and autos.


(The speed limit for light motor vehicles is 70kmph on the Delhi stretch of the e-way near Mahipalpur. HT photo)


On the issue of lax nforcement of speed limits and lane discipline, Arora said the traffic department has been prompt and regular in penalising offenders.


(On the Gurgaon stretch signages display a speed limit of 80 kmph near South City. HT photo)

Speed limit should not cross 60 kmph in city: Rohit Baluja

There is total confusion over speed limits on highways across the country and the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway, which is part of National Highway-8, is no exception.Under the Motor Vehicles Act, speed limits have to be notified by the government. In case of the Gurgaon expressway, I am curious how they derived the speed limit of 70 kilometres per hour and 80 kilometres per hour for the Delhi and Gurgaon stretches, respectively. The speed limits on highways and other roads ideally have to be decided on the basis of traffic engineering norms. According to this, the speed limit can be 15% less than the average speed of vehicles moving on that stretch.  I doubt if the factors of traffic engineering have been considered while deciding the speed limit on the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway. Other factors that need to be taken into account for fixing a speed limit are the presence of junctions, petrol stations, pedestrian crossings, blind turns etc. Technically, there cannot be a fixed uniform speed on the entire stretch. Considering the facts that the Gurgaon expressway meanders through the heart of the city, has several exit points and slow moving two-wheelers and three-wheelers share the same space, the speed limit should not be more than 60 kilometre per hour instead of the present 80 kilometre per hour. Looking at the number of fatal accidents that have occurred on the stretch, the traffic police, toll operator or other agencies on behalf of the local authority should enforce speed limits strictly.

(Rohit Baluja, president, Institute of Road Traffic Education, Delhi)




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