6 states yet to constitute UMTA, says Parliamentary panel on Housing and Urban Affairs – ThePrint – PTIFeed

2022-07-19 14:42:14 By : Ms. Abby Lian

New Delhi, Jul 19 (PTI) Despite a lapse of more than four years, six of the 12 states where Metro rail networks are either operational or under construction were yet to constitute Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority (UMTA) as a statutory body, according to a Parliamentary panel report tabled in Lok Sabha on Tuesday.

These six states are — National Capital Territory of Delhi, Karnataka, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra (in Mumbai only) and Rajasthan, as per the 13th report (17th Lok Sabha) of the Standing Committee on Housing and Urban Affairs (2021-22) on the subject, ‘Implementation of Metro Rail Projects – An Appraisal’.

As per Metro Rail Policy, 2017, state governments are required to constitute UMTA as a statutory body for preparation of a comprehensive mobility plan for the city.

“The committee, however, found that despite a lapse of more than four years, out of 12 states where Metro rail network had either commenced or was under construction, six states were yet to constitute UMTA, viz., NCT of Delhi, Karnataka, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra (in r/o Mumbai only) and Rajasthan,” according to an official statement.

The committee, therefore, recommended the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs to “take up and encourage setting up of UMTA in the states…without any further delay”, it said.

“Noting the capital intensive nature of metro projects, the Committee recommended adoption of less capital intensive MetroLite and MetroNeo networks in smaller cities with low ridership, and as feeder to high capacity metro systems,” the statement said.

Noting that currently, metro rail projects are being governed by three central acts, the committee felt the need for a single and comprehensive legislation, as many metro projects are under planning, development and operating phases in different cities under different models viz. exclusive ownership of state governments, JV (joint venture) with central government, PPP (public private partnership) basis, private ownership, etc. and many more cities are expected to take up the different kinds of metro projects- MRTS, LRTS MetroLite, MetroNeo, etc., it further said.

The panel also said barring Delhi Metro and Mumbai’s Line 1, many operational metros vis. Bengaluru Metro, Hyderabad Metro, Lucknow Metro, Chennai Metro, Kolkata Metro and Kochi Metro, had “low ridership leading to delay in achieving break-even”.

The committee, therefore, recommended the need for increasing ridership, as per the statement.

The panel has appreciated the launch of indigenously-developed and internationally accredited ‘One Nation One Card’ National Common Mobility Card (NCMC) and Automatic Fare Collection (AFC) Gate — SWAGAT — to enable seamless travel by metro rail and other transport systems across the country.

However, the committee “felt disappointed” to note that despite its launch about two years ago, the NCMC compliant systems have not been installed by Kolkata, Jaipur, Lucknow, Kanpur, Chennai and Gujarat metros so far, the statement said.

The committee, therefore, recommended that the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs may take up suitable steps in coordination with other stakeholders for “operationalisation of National Common Mobility Card across all transit networks throughout the country at the earliest, and across all metro networks immediately”. Metro Rail Policy, 2017, stipulates that every proposal for Metro Rail should necessarily include proposals for feeder systems that help enlarge the catchment area of each metro station to least 5 km, the statement said.

“As all metro networks did not have all First and Last Mile Connectivity facilities viz. pedestrian pathways, Non-Motorised Transport (NMT) infrastructure, and induction of facilities for para transit modes, the committee felt that presence of robust First and Last Mile Connectivity is something that makes metro networks ‘Mass Transportation Systems’ in true sense, and accordingly recommended that it should be made mandatory for all the metro stations,” it said.

The committee was also apprised that the percentage of total revenues generated by various metro projects from “fare-box revenue over the years ranged from 24.16 per cent to 89 per cent, which is quite high”.

The committee was of the opinion that maximisation of revenue from fare-box collections may “negatively impact ridership” and, therefore, it recommended the ministry to persuade and impress upon Metro projects to “explore all possible avenues of maximization of revenues from non-fare box sources”, it said.

The committee strongly recommended the ministry to take up inclusion of battery-operated boats and charging infrastructure of Kochi Water Metro under FAME II scheme with Ministry of Heavy Industries, “immediately”, in view of the advantages of water metro in enlarging the catchment area for Kochi Metro and also its being a pollution-free mode of transport, it added.

The committee also desired the ministry to consider encouraging states to adopt RESCO (renewable energy) model for solar power generation on Metro rooftops, depots and other possible areas, according to the statement. PTI KND CJ CJ

This report is auto-generated from PTI news service. ThePrint holds no responsibility for its content.

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