Experts push for non-motor transport

July 15, 2014


NEW DELHI: With Delhi being ranked the most polluted and populous city in the world by international organizations, urban planning experts say there is a need to promote sustainable public transport in the capital. After the success of Raahgiri Day on Sunday, civil society members say the government should focus on creating infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists.

“There is a need to bring down dependence on motorized vehicles. We need to encourage people to walk and cycle. This is possible only if we provide them the right infrastructure,” said Amit Bhatt, head of transport at Embarq India, a civil society group.

Raahgiri Day was organized at Connaught Place on Sunday by New Delhi Municipal Council, along with Embarq India, and supported by The Times of India.

Though the government has taken several initiatives to promote use of public transport, little work has been done on the ground. The Delhi Development Authority’s transit oriented development (TOD) policy is yet to be implemented. “TOD is a great concept and will bring down dependence on private vehicles as the government plans to set up high-density residential and commercial units around mass transit corridors like the Metro,” said Bhatt, whose organization has been pushing for sustainable public transport.

According to a Delhi Development Authority official, “We are in the process of drafting the policy. It will be placed before a panel of experts for review before it is approved by the authority. It will be then sent to the Union urban development ministry.”

Events like Raahgiri, Bhatt says, are just a step towards creating awareness about sustainable public transport and encourage people to lead a healthy lifestyle. “Through Raahgiri we want promote cycling and walking. We are looking at a shift from private to public transport. For this, the government needs to provide infrastructure.”

In Gurgaon, Raahgiri was originally organized on a 4-km long stretch but the event is now being held on a 15-km long stretch. “The civic agency is now maintaining stretches where the event is held. If people start walking and cycling, the agencies will have no option but to provide infrastructure,” he said.

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