Pedestrians and cyclists will have a field day in the Naya Raipur township now under construction in Chhattisgarh. The sectors are being designed such that no motorised transport is needed for movement within them
Since independence there are few examples of planned cities in the country. The most obvious is Chandigarh which was planned in the Sixties and should have paved the way for more such ventures. Surprisingly, despite the time-tested sustainability of the model, such replications did not take place.
Now there is one -- Naya Raipur, the new capital city of Chhattisgarh — which has been planned as a garden city and construction is currently in full swing. Slated to be the country's second planned city after Chandigarh, Naya Raipur with 21 residential sectors will accommodate a population of 16,000 initially and around 5.6 lakh once the project is completed in 2031.The most unique feature of this new township will be its proposed intra-city transport system.
The transport structure will not only have a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, but also priority attention will be given to pedestrians and cycle users. Hence, cycle lanes and pedestrian avenues are integral to the blue print.
In order to provide a high frequency service operation, the BRT system is planning to operate mini buses. The buses will be either CNG based or battery operated. This is to maintain the environmental quality of the new city as compared to the public transport system in the existing Raipur city, which is largely dependent on petrol or diesel and causes a lot of vehicular pollution.
According to the plan, well-lit and smooth surfaced footpaths of minimum 2.0 m width will be provided on both sides of all the roads. The right of way of major roads will be provided with a ‘Green strip cum utility corridor' along which the pedestrian path will run.
A major ‘Pedestrian Corridor' will also run from the south to the north of the city. Besides, cycle tracks, of minimum 3 m width, will be included.
Though in the past the experience with introducing the BRT system has not been as successful as expected, especially in the case of the National Capital, agencies working on the BRT in Naya Raipur do not believe that any of the problems will arise in the new city. Amit Bhatt, strategy head, transport for Embarq India, a think tank working with the Naya Raipur Development Authority (NRDA), a special area development authority established by the State government assuages such fears. “The BRT system of Naya Raipur will be based on the successful BRT model in Ahmedabad. The architect of the Naya Raipur BRT system is the same as Ahmedabad and all the design features of that system will be retained in Naya Raipur,” Mr Bhatt told The Hindu.
Located at a distance of 17 km south east of Raipur, Naya Raipur is the first city where land use has been integrated with the transport system since its inception. The planners aim to build a city that will be well connected both internally and externally. The sectors are being designed in such a manner that no motorised transport is needed for movement within the sectors.
According to the State's presentation on the planned city, “…the layered development process will have many other hallmarks like adequate water and power supply, modern sewage treatment plants with water recycling system, better infrastructure for education, telecom and healthcare and lake conservation projects among others.”
On the face of it Naya Raipur seems to be a promising model of planned development. However, it remains to be seen whether the administration will be able to translate the good intentions into reality.