Volume 3 Issue 14 - July 15, 2005

National Urban Transport Policy to come up for Cabinet discussion

DNIS News Network - Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation will present an ambitious National Urban Transport Policy draft for discussion and approval before the Union Cabinet later this month.

State Chief Ministers had already given their inputs on the draft of the policy at a meeting last month. The content and finer details of the proposed National Policy will only emerge after it comes up for discussion at the Cabinet meeting, but Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad did come up with broad highlights during an interaction with the media.

The issue of access for disabled people and aged did not figure, at least during this recounting of highlights of the Policy by the Minister. And if the issue has been or is neglected by the Ministry, the nation would lose out on an opportunity to get this policy to address the issue of accessibility for people with disability.

Further, considering that transport is a state subject, the incorporation of the issue of access in the National Policy will allow the government to address the issue in a single go and cut short the need to take up the issue with each State individually.

According to an official release, the objective of the Policy is to ensure safe, affordable, comfortable, quick, reliable and sustainable access to residents of cities seeking jobs, education, recreation, etc.

The draft Policy seeks to bring about a more equitable use of road space with people and not vehicles as the focus. It suggests a unified transport authority for all cities having a population over 10 lakh. The policy will make it mandatory for developers to provide parking facilities while constructing residential or commercial structures. It will entail building expressways around cities and dedicated terminals for trucks to reduce traffic burden in cities.

The Policy envisages that each city must have an integrated master plan, which includes planning of urban transport systems. In developing such plans, attention had to be paid to channelise the future growth of a city around a pre-planned transport network, rather than develop a transport system after uncontrolled development had taken place. Among other things, the Policy will encourage integrated land use and transport planning simultaneously, so that transport needs is incorporated in the master plans of all the cities.

If inclusion / mainstreaming / equal opportunities are to be achieved for persons with disability, it is imperative that transport system is made accessible. Current transport system, buses, railways, even cars are inaccessible for persons with disabilities.

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