Sunday, June 25, 2006

Three cheers for Bangalore

Three cheers for Bangalore
PM’s answer for chaotic cities
Bangaloreans can hopefully blow the blues away. The road to development was cleared by the Prime Minister, who also warned if Bangalore has to stay ahead, it needs to look at the future and reinvent itself to meet challenges ahead.
The Times of India

Bangalore: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday declared that public transport was a national priority as “we cannot afford excessive dependence on private transport’’.

Speaking after laying the foundation stone for the Rs 6,300 crore Bangalore Metro Rail project, Singh said an efficient and well-functioning public

transport system can cut cost and save energy. “Cities cannot develop in a haphazard manner. We urgently need new investment in world-class public infrastructure for our cities. We have to improve the quality of living and we have to invest in public transport,” he felt.

Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram — in a comparison of sorts — said “when people rode on horses, they used to travel at a speed of 12 to 15 kmph.”

“Now, with so much advancement, we are only able to travel only at 10 kmph. Public transport systems like the Metro Rail and the elevated transport systems are the only answer to such situations.”

Chief minister H D Kumaraswamy said Bangalore’s population was expected to touch 10 million by 2021, with a burgeoning vehicle population, causing air and noise pollution and health problems besides heavily congested roads.

To improve ridership on Metro, the government will undertake all steps to integrate other modes of transport like the Mono Rail to add to the operations of the Metro Rail.

Union Urban Development Minister Jaipal Reddy said the Central government was contributing Rs 1,000 crore as 15 per cent equity for the project, besides Rs 600 crore as subordinate debt fund and also was standing guarantee for the Japan Bank for International Cooperation loan of Rs 1,800 crore.

G ove r n o r T N Chaturvedi, Rajya Sabha deputy chairman Rahman Khan, Union minister of state for planning M V Rajashekaran, Union minister of state for road transport and highways K H Muniappa, deputy chief minister B S Yediyurappa, leader of the opposition in the Karnataka legislative assembly N Dharam Singh were among those who attended the function.

Former prime minister and JD(S) leader H D Deve Gowda, however, was conspicuous by his absence.

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