Need for MRTS
As cities grow in size, the number of vehicular trips on road system goes up. This necessitates a pragmatic policy shift to discourage private modes and encourage public transport once the level of traffic along any travel corridor in one direction exceeds 20,000 persons per hour.
Introduction of a rail based (MRTS) Mass Rapid Transit System is called for. Mass Rapid Transit Systems are capital intensive and have long gestation period. It has been observed that in developed countries, planning for mass transit system starts when city population size exceeds 1 million; the system is in position by the time the city population is 2 to 3 million and once the population exceeds 4 million or so, planned extensions to the Mass Rapid Transit Systems is vigorously taken up. In developing countries including India, because of paucity of funds planning and implementation of rail based Mass Rapid Transit Systems has been lagging far behind the requirements.
The city of Delhi with a population of round 12 (16.2) million should have had an MRTS network of at least 100 (300) KM by this time, whereas actually it is still (65.10 kms) at the take-off stage. Delhi has all the ideal dress-up for an excellent Mass Rapid Transit System to be brought in. It has wide roads (roads cover 23% of the city area) where road possession for construction is not difficult (except in the old city area). Implementation will also not involve demolition of large scale private properties. Most of the land required is under Government control and hence can be easily acquired.
The citizens are enlightened and would eagerly welcome introduction of people friendly MRTS though they may initially face some difficulties during the implementation phase. Added to this Delhi has an unassailable advantage in its excellent railway network comprising two rings and six spurs totaling about 120 KM within the urban area.
Unfortunately, these Rail assets are not presently fully being utilized as its share of commuter traffic is only a mere 2%.
Delhi has experienced phenomenal growth in population in the last few decades. Its population has increased from 57 lakhs in 1981 to 120 (162) lakhs in 1998 (2006) and is poised to reach 132 (190) lakhs by the year 2001 (2011). For want of an efficient mass transport system, the number of motor vehicles has increased from 5.4 lakhs in 1981 to 30 (51) lakhs in 1998 (2007) and is (increasing at the rate of 6.21 per annum). The number of motor vehicles in Delhi is now more than that of Mumbai, Calcutta, Chennai put together. The result is extreme congestion on Delhi roads, ever slowing speeds, increase in road accidents fuel wastage and environmental pollution with motorized vehicles alone contributing to about two thirds of the atmospheric pollution.
Today the traffic on roads of Delhi is a heterogeneous mix of cycles scooters buses cars and rickshaws jostling with each other. This has resulted in a chaotic situation so much so that due to road accidents, the average number of persons killed per day has increased to 5 and of those injured to 13. The position is expected to deteriorate further in the years to come.
To rectify this situation the Government of India and the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi, in equal partnership have set up a company named Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. under the Companies Act,1956 which has (already commissioned a 65.10 kms route in Phase-I and is proceeding ahead with another 121 kms in Phase –III).