New Delhi, Sep 17 (IANS) Union Urban Development Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Saturday released the new Metro Rail Policy that focuses on minimising the use of personal motorised transport and provides “useful guidance on making viable metro rail proposals”.

The policy was approved by the Union Cabinet last month.

Expressing concern over poor public transport infrastructure in cities, Puri stressed on the need for integrated land use and transport planning with the objective of promoting compact and dense urban development to minimise the use of personal motorised transport.

“It is difficult to imagine Delhi without Metro Rail which is now carrying about 30 lakh passengers every day,” he said.

The Minister’s observation came at a national dissemination workshop on new Metro Rail Policy that was attended by senior officials from different states and chief executives of Metro Rail Corporations from across the country.

“The new Metro Rail Policy provides useful guidance on making viable metro rail proposals. Sanctioning an unviable proposal tends to pull down the entire system of a city,” he added.

Stating that Metro Rail is not an end in itself to solve urban mobility problems but only one of the means, Puri called for a holistic approach with proper integration of various modes of transport based on local context.

He observed that while the developed countries are going back to cycles, developing countries like India are relying more on cars.

Noting that there were 825 million cars in the world in 2010 and this is expected to rise to 1,600 million in 2035 and to 2,100 million in 2050 with the potential of bringing cities to a grinding halt, he said that investment in developing cycling and walking pathways makes good urban investment.

Expressing concern over what he called the “crisis-like situation” with regard to urban mobility, Puri urged all the states to set up Unified Metropolitan Transport Authorities (UMTA) in all the 53 cities with over million population to ensure integration among all modes of transport on a regional basis.

The Minister noted only 14 cities have set up UMTA so far though the National Urban Transport Policy in 2006 prescribed it.

This is published unedited from the IANS feed.