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Monday , 22 July 2024

No Speed Limits

When it comes to Intelligent Transport System, India is facing two challenges: One is in using the right technology/ product and another one is the lack of uniform and integrated ITS policy framework

Bridge-systemThis is a very complicated issue, because in the motor vehicle act, a lot of subjects are with the central government and the state government cooperation is very important.

There were a lot of controversies, so we appointed a committee of State Transport Ministers was appointed. The new motor vehicle act is based on the committee’s report. This act is of world standard as we had done a lot of research and had studied similar acts in USA, Canada, the UK, Singapore and Argentina. It is prepared with the help of the World Bank and has already been presented to the state governments.

Our idea is to open 4000 centres in the country where driving license will be digitalized and we will give all technical assistance. There will be pre-designated tracks equipped with sensors and surveillance cameras. So, a candidate can give a test without human interference. It is the computer and not the officer that will take the test and evaluate. After that, via satellite, that information will be sent to the transport ministry and it is mandatory that the officer gives the license within three days; otherwise he will be penalized.

Now, there will be registration on electronic system as well. The sticker on the car will get every information about the driver and also about the vehicle. The system will be totally computerized and all data will be available within seconds. For instance, if a person/driver has violated the law for three times consecutively, his license can be suspended.

We are now in the process of bringing in mechanization, modernization and computerization of the system across the country. At the same time, we are launching intelligent traffic system not only on the national highways but also on the urban roads.

With the help of ANPR cameras, any vehicle violating the traffic safety rules will be immediately caught on the camera. Accordingly, e-challans will be issued in the name of the violator.

The Highway corridor management will be strengthened with cameras for lane management & speed control and better highway information services like Highway Advisory Services. The dedicated radio FM channel gives live updates on weather condition or road blocks.

ITS is needed for water  transport too

We have got a lot of ideas; around 48 DPRs have already been given to some European companies. So we will have it on international standard. In shipping sector, RFID tags will be installed in the container to improve the efficiency of logistics. We are going to install the scanners, so that the containers can be scanned for safety, radiation and other aspects.

You have just seen how Mississippi river is contributing to movement of people and products…

We have taken decision to convert over 100 of our rivers into waterways. We have started working on Ganga. More than Rs2500Cr worth of contracts have already been given. Three multi-modal hubs are planned at Varanasi, Haldia and Sahibganj with roadways, waterways and railways. The land has been acquired and designs are ready. There will be forty water ports on the Ganga between Varnasi and Haldia.

India has a huge potential for water transport and has 14,500km of waterways. Once the roll-on roll-off services at five places including Haldia, Patna, Varanasi and Sahibganj become operational, trucks and even cars could be transported till the points.

Yet, there are challenges in implementation

There are some complications with the law; some complications with the economic viability. We have to set up the system in such a way that it must be economically viable. Presently 47% of goods and passenger traffic in China is on water, 43% in Korea, 44% in Japan, and in European countries it is more than 40% whereas in India it is still four to six percent.

Now our idea is to take it to 15%. Unfortunately, for taking any material from Mumbai to Dubai or Mumbai to London, the cost is less and it is easy but taking material from Mumbai to Delhi is costly and complicated. Our logistics cost is 18%. So the target for my department is to reduce the logistics cost up to 12%. Without that we cannot fulfil the dream of our Prime Minister – “Made in India and Make in India”.

Being developed along side are 28 industrial clusters by which we are expecting an investment of `8lakh crores. At the same time, our idea is to make water ports, 2000 of them. These are not included in this Rs8 lakh crores. Four lakh crore rupees of investment will be on port road connectivity and mechanization, modernization & computerization of roads. With port scanners, it will be a transparent system.

Also there will be godowns, precooling plants and cold storage facilities. Suppose a big company from Mumbai have stores in West Bengal and Northeast, it can take all material from Mumbai to Shahidganj. At Shahidganj, it can directly take that material by waterways to Andaman Nicobar, Northeast, West Bengal, Assam and everywhere.

Till now, edible oil is imported from Indonesia, Malaysia into Haldia; some 5000 barrels come to Varanasi. The refineries in this area can reduce the cost of edible oil by `2 per kg because we have saved logistics cost. There are a number of ideas and possibilities that can give a push for new development. Our idea is to launch sea plane, catamaran, yatch, and provide more employment.

What about rural road development and rural connectivity

These do not fall under my department. But as a minister in Maharashtra, ex-Prime Minister AB Vajpayee gave me an opportunity to prepare a report under the scheme Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana.

The Finance Minister in his budget speech had floated this idea on rural transport – Pradhan Mantri Rural Transport Scheme – which is yet to be launched.

How will you motivate state governments to improve the condition of roads?

MoRTH’s jurisdiction is limited to highways. But we are planning for a transport system for metro cities. Metropolis like Mumbai needs cement concrete road.

 

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