Maharashtra may approach Centre, World Bank over Mumbai Trans-Harbour Link project

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.


Transfer of govt land for metro made easier

August 14, 2013



PUNE: The Central government has approved a proposal to facilitate smooth transfer of government land for speedy execution of metro projects across the country.State urban development department officials said the decision means that metro projects in cities like Pune could be extended to fringes in the future and seek government land for the same. “The process to get government land was technical and required many clearances. Now, if the state government and the local governing body want government land for metro project, the Centre will approve the same without any delay,” said a state UDD official.

According to the proposal, metro companies formed by the state and local governing bodies will be treated under rules that are applied in the case of Central Public Sector Undertakings (PSU). This will allow transfer/ alienation of land including defence land to metro rail companies having 50:50 partnership with the government of India and the state government concerned, on the same pattern and terms and conditions as applicable to PSUs / statutory bodies.


As per this decision, ongoing and future metro rail projects will be facilitated to get completed within the approved cost and time with subsequent project benefits to the people.


“The state cabinet, in June 2012, gave its nod to the Pune metro project, approving the 14.925-km elevated route from Vanaz to Ramwadi. The cabinet also decided to form the Pune Metro Rail Corporation (PMRC) for the implementation of the metro project. The government decision on land will definitely benefit the city as there are plans to extend the metro in Pune Metropolitan Region,” said the UDD official.


However, land acquisition, which has often stalled several projects including the Bus Rapid Transit System in Pune, will not be a problem for the 14.925-km elevated route of the Pune metro rail project from Vanaz to Ramwadi.


About 18.44 hectares land is required for 15 elevated stations and a depot in Kothrud.


Of the total land requirement, 14 hectare belongs to the government and the PMC and four hectare is held by private owners. The 14.925 km stretch is planned on roads that are 30m wide and hence no more land acquisition is necessary to construct this metro route.





Delhi: Cars, cars everywhere, just no place to park

August 14, 2013

Darpan Singh, Hindustan Times  New Delhi,

Water, water everywhere, not a drop to drink: Samuel Taylor Coleridge had famously written in his poem, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. Were he to write on Delhi’s parking problems, he would have probably started: Cars, cars everywhere, just no place to park.

True, the growing number of cars and finding a place to park them is one of Delhi’s biggest urban nightmares. It has also led to a host of other problems — traffic congestion, encroachments, no walking place, quarrels, road rages and even murders.

Sample this: Parking has consumed nearly 10% of the city’s urban land and green and open spaces. In stark contrast, the share of the capital’s forest cover is just 11%.

And it’s just not about a chaotic present. Worse is in store in the future. The constant addition of cars — 1.6 lakh are registered in a year — means Delhi needs an area as big as 310 football fields to accommodate them every year, studies at the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) have shown.

From 39.40 lakh vehicles in 2002-03, the number has risen to 74.38 lakh in 2011-12, an 88% increase. All this for cars that remain parked for 90% of the time, meeting only 14% of Delhi’s travel needs.
















“It is physically impossible to find parking space in Delhi. As the number of cars in Delhi grows, the space available for people gets squeezed, and the human living environment gets overrun. Cars are like an invasive species that out-competes people for space,” global parking expert Mark Gorton told HT.

The urban sprawl of Delhi has forced more and more people to use cars. This has led to the creation of a massive car-centric infrastructure. “Flyovers, signal-free corridors and overbridges obstruct and destroy movement patterns needed to promote walking, cycling and public transport. Even more people are forced to use cars…the vicious cycle continues,” said CSE’s expert Anumita Roychowdhury.

About 1% of Delhi’s population of 17 million lives in Lutyens’ Delhi. This has pushed growth to the periphery and increased dependency on cars.

Innovations such as multi-level parking have failed to provide any relief because of the long cruising time and lower charges in surface lots.

“I don’t use multi-level lots because of the time factor,” said Nishant, 20, of Paschim Vihar.

Lack of adequate parking space also leads to all kinds of crimes. Last year, parking caused 27 cases of violence. 15 murders over parking have been reported in the last five years.

Till July 31 this year, a murder and a robbery, besides five cases of molestation, two rapes and 203 thefts have been reported at parking lots.

Markets crammed with vehicles lead to space crunch and overcharging in parking lots — often double the normal rate. A nexus among contractors, officials and corporators ensures the practice goes on.

In residential areas, service lanes of colonies are packed with vehicles and this leads to frequent fights. Residents suffer as emergency vehicles such as those of police and fire services often get stuck.

Parking in residential areas does not cost a rupee. The absence of a parking policy due to lack of political will only add to the woes.

Then, there is no barrier-free walking, no cycle tracks and no playgrounds. Shops have poor visibility and people have a bad shopping experience. Green belts and footpaths have been encroached upon.

“The corporation is planning to convert some parks in Kalkaji into driveways. This is absurd,” said DS Mann Kalkaji F Block RWA.

“When I lived in Munirka, a neighbour had four cars and one fine day, he cut down a huge, old tree because he needed more parking space,” said Smita, 35, a resident of Mayur Vihar phase-1.



CEPT plans to rope in global partners for urban transport planning project

August 8, 2013

Lakshmi Ajay : Ahmedabad,

The CEPT University’s Centre of Excellence in Urban Transport is mulling over extending its flagship 10-week training programme for in-service professionals called “Leaders in Urban Transport Planning and Management” to international participants from next year.While outlining their two-year plan to the Centre next month, the CoE officials will submit a proposal to widen the scope of the programme that was launched last year.

The week-long programme that began on Sunday is a first-of-its-kind module in India that looks at urban transport and its management and is run jointly with the World Bank. Rs 4.3 lakh is being spent on each participant by the stakeholders.

Around 40 senior and mid-level professionals from railways, municipal corporations, urban development authorities and various state transport authorities from 25 cities will undergo a capacity-building programme at CEPT University.

“Urban transport is not only about engineering, roads and infrastructure, and operations like railways or state transport authorities, but includes footpaths, mobility and land use. Currently, there are no programmes in the country to address such issues. From next year, we propose to hold a global programme for 30 international participants. This will include an in-training programme, consisting of four modules, in which the participants will be required to spend three weeks out of their jobs at the workshop and undertake an international study tour as well,” says H M Shivanand Swamy, Executive Director of CoE Urban Transport, CEPT.

Of these participants, around eight were from the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), Rajkot Municipal Corporation (RMC), Surat Municipal Corporations (SMC) and AUDA. The participants are guided by five world-renowned urban transport experts and CEPT faculty on cities and their urban transport-related issues. “This year, we will be focussing on studying Hong Kong that has come up with interesting metro and transit financing schemes and accessibility measures like pedestrian-elevated corridors in detail,” adds Swamy.

For completing the programme, participants have to come up with proposals for individual projects for their respective workplaces, which they will develop within the next five months under the guidance of a mentor from the CoE. Site visits to universities and urban authorities in Honk Kong, Singapore and Seoul are also scheduled. There they will be briefed on transport innovations.

“The programme has a good mixed bag of participants from various departments like roads, railways that helped in getting many perspectives in planning urban transport for a city. We will study and compare three cities in terms of different modes of urban transport they currently have and the problems dogging them,” says Neela Munshi, Senior Town Planner at AUDA (Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority) who is one of the participants of the programme.

Established in 2009 by the Ministry of Urban Development, the CoE is supported by the AMCand. Its mandate includes capacity-building in urban transport, HR development, knowledge anagement and technical assistance and advisory.



« Previous Page