The Bold Voice of J&K

Mass Rapid Transport System (MRTS) for Jammu, Srinagar

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Sanjay Sapru

The MRTS does not only improve the usefulness and efficiency of Public Transit System but also results in increased commercial development to improve the economy of the country. These are cheap modes of transportation, enabling considerable savings in labor, materials, fuel and energy. It is most efficient in terms of space occupancy and provides comfort with ultra-modern coaches and modern systems like automatic ticketing, advanced signalling systems, automatic train protection system and integrated security systems. Services like ATMs, food outlets, cafés and convenience stores at Metro stations make the journey more fruitful and further add to the economic development.
Last but not the least this system has been successful in reducing the congestion on roads and saving time on travel.
The only disadvantage is that the initial cost of Construction and Implementation is very high. It works best at places where a larger number of people will ride them such as in the center of big and densely populated cities.
J & K State Perspective
The J and K State Government has been introduced to the MRTS since 2010 and ever since nothing was being done about it. However, as mentioned above, in other states/cities this system is implemented, operational and running successfully. Recently it was announced by the J and K Government that Metro projects would be taken up in Srinagar and Jammu under multilateral funding from Japanese Official Developmental Assistance (JODA) as a part of rapid transit system proposed by reputed development consultancy, Rail India Technical and Economic Services (RITES). The job of making a detailed Project Report about the feasibility of this project in Jammu and Kashmir has been entrusted to RITES. This was done while reviewing the progress of projects being executed by the J and K Economic Reconstruction Agency (JKERA). The meeting was chaired by Chief Minister and it was decided that the Housing and Urban Development Department will act as the nodal department for firming up the metro projects for two capital cities in consultation with the RITES. The team also has been given a dead line to complete the project, which is a positive and determined approach. The decision has been taken to go ahead for a metro length of 45 Km in Kashmir and 30 Km in Jammu. The routes for the same are suggested in the City Mobility Plan of Jammu and Srinagar cities. The process has been initiated following the offer of the Government of Japan, inviting proposals for technical cooperation under their Technical Cooperation Program for Metro and Railway Projects in the main cities of different states of India.
The tentative routes suggested in the CMP for Srinagar city are Nowgam Railway Station to SKIMS via Baghi Mehtab, Rambagh, Jawahar Nagar, Civil Secretariat, Barbarshah, Nowhatta, Hawal, Alamgari Bazaar and Pantha Chowk to Shalteng via Lasjan, Badami Bagh, Lal Chowk, Civil Secretariat, Tatoo Ground, Bemina. The routes suggested for Jammu are Amphala Chowk to Bari Brahmna via Bikram Chowk, Gandhi Nagar, Satwari and Bakshi Nagar to Purmandal via BC Road, Bagh-i-Bahu, Trikuta Nagar.
It may not be out of place to mention that since the invention of the wheel, transportation has been the integral part of development and progress. The uncertainty about MRTS, which had plagued the importance of such systems in India, seems to be resolving. The shortcomings of Kolkata Metro which was designed without a rule book followed by Delhi metro being designed on International norms has guided the respective agencies to follow and adopt a set of techniques for the construction, implementation and operation of MRTS in India. The National Mass Transit and Training Research Institute (NMTTRI) in Mumbai (established by Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority, MMRDA), is one of its kinds in Asia imparting training and research on mass transit systems. The annual training courses cater to key issues like Public Transport Security, Safety and Emergency/Disaster Management, Noise Pollution & Abatement Measures for Urban Transportation, Integrated Ticketing, and seamless Travel across Modes and Intelligent Transportation System. We may have one such institute in Jammu and Kashmir State, as well.
Conclusively we can say that the design and planning of cities cannot alienate the importance of an infrastructure in place for the entity called MRTS. A multi-modal transportation system would ensure the use of MRTS to its best potential. MRT – Smart Transportation will be the backbone of a Vital Project to transform Jammu and Srinagar Cities to Smart City and will create large scale employment both during the Project Execution & the Project Operation phase after the Go-Live and bring in Investment of more than 40,000 Crore to the State.

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