In the absence of adequate land and public transport upgrades, Singapore will stop adding any vehicles to their roads from February 2018. They have consequently decided to invest billions in their public transit system.
Is it time for Pune to go the Singapore way and put a stop to more vehicles being added on to our already burdened roads and traffic system ?
The Facts :
Pune is one of the fastest growing cities in the Asia-Pacific region. The city attracts a lot of migrants and the increasing population is a major concern, considering the infrastructure that is already under pressure. Pune, with it’s huge two-wheeler population, increasing pollution, road safety issues and never ending traffic snarls is now riddled with concerns.
A recent report states that over 700 private vehicles are being added daily, despite the fact that Pune has already close to 35 lakh vehicles for a population of 40 lakh. 80 % of which are 2 & 3-Wheelers.
Pune365 spoke to a few eminent citizens on these concern of vehicular pollution and population increase, that plagues the city and it’s infrastructure.
Col. Shashikant Dalvi:
Massive tree plantation drive ensuring survival of plants, Conversion of all 2 & 3-wheeler as electrical vehicles in a phased manner. Battery operated.
All passenger buses to be battery operated or electrically operated like trams with normal tyre.
Restricting total no. of vehicles in city, as followed by Singapore & Bhutan. Even and odd number vehicles on road every day. This will help reduce air pollution and traffic jams.
Out of the 35 lakh vehicles, majority of these use fossil fuels like petrol and diesel and most of the three-wheeler are using CNG.
If 30 lakh 2-wheelers use 1 litre of fuel daily, 7500 metric tonnes of Carbon dioxide will be generated daily in city atmosphere. (1 litre of fuel generates around 2.5 kg of CO2, when burnt).
To absorb these gasses adequate tree cover is required. Pune has only 36 lakh trees to absorb this ever-increasing harmful emission.
The government in other countries try to implement stern rules for citizens to obey. Even people are responsible there. But here, although there are certain enlisted regulations that one should abide by, people tend to neglect them therefore putting their lives in danger.
Many RTO permits, and licenses are provided by private agents illegally, without proper scrutiny. Ideally, permits and registrations should be done keeping in mind the size of the city. The government should stop providing registrations and license when they feel that the number of vehicles have surpassed the land-vehicle ratio.
School for Traffic Offenders
A school that will impart the seriousness of obeying rules and take a commitment from the offenders that they would not commit any post the session. The offender once caught and fined will need to spend time in the school, will watch film, will undergo road signs charts and in the end, will need to sign an undertaking.
There should be a well maintained public transport infrastructure. The major cause of increasing pollution by traffic is because no strict standards and regulations are maintained. Youngsters are irresponsible while driving. There is too much traffic stress on traffic police. Also, several fruit bearing tress should be planted in every 500 sq foot of land to maintain the natural ecology of Pune.
To create awareness among people, a School for Traffic Offenders is also being set up in Shivaji Nagar.
Daaud Khan: Banning vehicles in any city of India will create more chaos and do more bad than good. Singapore has an excellent system of public transport whereas Pune’s system lacks basic standards. Public buses are very inconvenient, the roads are bad and the local train facility is on a single rail line (same as for intercity).
A good option would be to introduce the metro and glamourise it extensively just as Delhi does, so that even the elite class uses it.
Satish Khot: Almost 90-93% of travelling is done by walking. These people are students going to schools, senior citizens and economically weaker section of the society. For them pedestrian crossings should be clean and free of vendors and hawkers, signals should be maintained and more over citizens should abide by traffic rules.
Adding to this the mass transport system has to be on point. Only when they are maintained, people will think of using them. Some sections even today use it, but the quality is not good.
For buses, the connectivity to every route should be planned, comfortable and citizen friendly buses must be introduced. Even smaller buses should be made available to connect people from the metro. Also, there should be a restriction on the use of cars. Parking’s should be made costlier and policies like the ‘odd-even’ like in Delhi, should be redesigned and administered effectively
Madhav Patil: According to me, to cater to the ever-increasing vehicular population, we need an efficient, comfortable, economical and accessible mass transport system. The main problem here is that most politicians and bureaucrats are not genuinely interested in the development of the city.
They prefer their own, over the country. Even if money is sanctioned for any development work, they tend to fill their pockets first, which is why we citizens have to go through such hardship.
#All views expressed in this column are those of the individual respondents and Pune365 does not necessarily subscribe to them.
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