‘This will facilitate integration of land use and transportation’

The Union Ministry of Urban Development has asked the State government to designate the Urban Development Department (UDD) as the nodal department for all urban transport-related matters.

The Ministry said no planned urbanisation could be successful without an effective and efficient urban transport system.

Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC), which caters to the public transport requirements of Bangalore, Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC), North Western KRTC and North Eastern KRTC come under the Transport Department.

In a recent communiqué to the Chief Secretary, Union Urban Development Secretary Sudhir Krishna said the State UDD should also be responsible for planning land use for urban transport. Urban transport and planning should go together. However, in many States these two are segregated between the Transport Department and the UDD, he said. It had been well recognised that urban transport was the key for urban development as more than 70 per cent of the country’s GDP comes from cities.

Only few followed

Mr. Krishna said, “It is a matter of concern that despite this being one of the conditions of reforms at the State-level under the scheme for funding of buses for urban transport under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) and in spite of issuing two advisories from the Ministry to chief secretaries of all States and Union Territories earlier, only a few States — Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha and Rajasthan — have brought urban transport under one nodal department, i.e., urban development department.”

Designating the UDD as the nodal department for urban transport was necessary for the integration of land use and transport plans as envisaged in the National Urban Transport Plan, Mr. Krishna said. With this, urban transport remains as an integral part of urban planning at all levels and cities could be planned in a holistic manner, he said.

Responding to this, a senior Transport Department official said the department would have no objection to the move. The government had to take the decision, he said.

Mr. Krishna said failure to comply with the advisory, however, would not attract any penalty. There were about 30 conditions for funding under the JNNURM. Some of them are mandatory and some, including a single agency for urban planning and transport, are desirable. Karnataka, at least, had a Directorate of Urban Land Transport to plan for urban transport under the UDD, he said.