Ninad Khanapurkar, working as a Sr. Functional Consultant with KPIT Cummins, explains how a voluminous growth of vehicles in Pune city has led to environmental degradation.
Pune has grown at a great pace in the last couple of years, leading to an immense growth in population. This in turn has put a lot of pressure on various civic amenities including, water supply, sanitation, electricity, and road network. But primarily, the pressure has been seen on the urban transportation system. The reasons for this can be found at both local and national levels.
At the local level, lack of adequate & efficient public transport system has led to an increase in personal vehicles. According to recent reports there has been a decline in the usage of public transport in Pune. It has gone down from 35 per cent to 22 per cent in the last five years. Compare this with Mumbai where the usage of public transport is perceptibly better: about 85 per cent. At the national level, faulty policies lax monitoring and imbalance in subsidies to the automobile industry & related consumables are leading to inadequacies.
My solutions for the aforementioned problems are as follows:
At the Local Level:
- Roads and flyovers should be widened. MultiModal & Mass Rapid Transit transport system should be introduced – it should be a good mix of bus & rail network ratio while keeping in mind the cost viability. Pune also has a good network of rivers flowing through the city. The authorities could consider cleaning the rivers and introducing boats as means of transport within the city.
- Increasing effective use of road space by appropriate traffic control and enforcement measures. Traffic signals should be synchronized to better traffic flow, thus increasing fuel efficiency. Dedicated bicycle tracks should be implemented to encourage people to ride cycles as often as possible, thereby reducing pollution and enhancing overall health of the citizens. Footpaths should be cleared to promote pedestrian safety.
- A congestion tax should be implemented on usage of vehicles within certain areas of the city as a deterrent for use of private vehicles. This sort of tax has to be coupled with a good and effective public transport.
At the national level:
- Automobile manufacturers should be encouraged to move to building cleaner and lesser polluting vehicles/engines.
- Tax sops could be given to auto majors as a reward for bringing in new and cleaner technologies. CDM (Clean Development Mechanisms) should be promoted in manufacturing, usage and disposable processes for the automobiles.
- Government should encourage automobile industry players to set up R&D centres so they can develop new technologies, like hybrids, hydrogen fuel cell automobiles, etc.
- Government should stop the administered pricing mechanism as far as the fuel prices are concerned.
- Environmental cess should be implemented on automobiles with respect to their engine capacity, emission control efficiency, fuel efficiency, etc.
We need to take a stronger stance that favours a more holistic and sustainable future, especially when it comes to transportation. By following these steps we will be able to safeguard and preserve our environment.
I urge you all to share your opinions and also suggest your ideas.