The Union Minister of Housing & Urban Affairs, Petroleum and Natural Gas, Hardeep Singh Puri has suggested preparing a road map to achieve an efficient and green transportation systems in urban areas in line with the Prime Minister’s Panch Pran initiative.

As nearly 50 per cent of the population would be living in urban areas by 2047, the expansion of urban mobility was an imperative for India to become a developed country by then, the Minister said.

The country was all set to achieve 20 per cent biofuel blending within the next 2 years as against the targeted 2030. According to him, 10 per cent biofuel blending had resulted in a savings of ₹40,000 crore last year.

The Minister was speaking at the 15th edition of the Urban Mobility India (UMI) Conference and Exhibition 2022 in Kochi on Friday.

Noting that 60 million people refuel their vehicles daily, he said the country’s fuel consumption of 5 million barrels of crude oil per day is likely to rise to 7 million barrels in the next few years. He said that the global growth rate of fuel demand was 1 per cent while that of India was about 3 per cent.

Kochi was the apt choice for hosting the urban mobility conference as it had distinguished itself as an exemplar for promoting seamless public transportation in urban areas.

The objective of the conference was to create a system that encouraged people to switch from personal vehicles to public transport. It aligned with the Centre’s objective of ‘moving people rather than vehicles’.

Growing infrastructure

Touching upon the rapid progress of Indian Metro lines in the global context, the Minister said as on September 2022, 810 kms of metro line were operational in 20 cities and a network of more than 980 kms and RRTS was currently under construction in 27 cities. India currently had the fifth-largest metro network in the world and would soon overtake advanced economies such as Japan and South Korea to have the third-largest network. These developments would lead to a significant reduction in traffic congestion and emissions concerns and an improvement in air quality.

The Minister complimented the Kochi Metro for the innovative waterway project which would connect 10 islands through 15 routes and cater to a daily ridership of more than 100,000 across 78-km network.

Addressing the inaugural event through video conferencing, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the State government was keen on transforming the public transport system and underlined the need for making it equitable, affordable and sustainable.