National

Delhi wants fewer cars on road, but bus fleet declines

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 12, 2018 Published on January 19, 2017

Only 336 buses were added to the number of public buses across India — rising to 140,497 in 2014-15 from 140,161 in the previous year - Photo: VV Krishnan

CSE report says 30% of Indian land degraded

Alarming levels of urban pollution across India, particularly in the national capital, have seen the onus being put on citizens, who are being asked to give up use of private vehicles in favour of public transport. Yet, the number of state-run buses in Delhi actually took a dip in 2014-15.

According to the State of Environment 2017 report by the Centre for Science and Environment, Delhi’s bus fleet stood at 5,341 in 2013-14, which fell by 364 to 4,977 in 2014-15.

Bus addition

Further, only 336 buses were added to the number of public buses across India — rising to 140,497 in 2014-15 from 140,161 in the previous year.

Meanwhile, the sale of private cars has gone up by 300 per cent between 2000 and 2015, with over 1.5 lakh cars being registered in the city every year. In the year 2000, just over 79,000 cars were registered.

“The country, on an average, has just two buses for every 1,000 people, which only shows the poor state of public transport system. However, the 46 state-run bus services in the country have losses to the tune of ₹10,810 crore till date,” the report notes.

The report also finds that there has been a 9 per cent dip in the number of people using state-run buses in the past five years.

Alarming figures

The report paints a disturbing picture of declining environmental health of the country from uncontrolled rapid urbanisation — 26 of 29 states have reported a rise in area undergoing desertification in the past 10 years and almost 30 per cent of India is degraded.

As many as 69 major floods were reported between 2000 and 2015, most of which were directly linked to loss of water bodies. No fewer than 5,156 environmental crime cases registered in 2014 and 2015, even though its one of the least reported crimes.

“In nine states, around 40 to 70 per cent of land has undergone desertification,” the report said. Desertification of land has a direct impact on farm produce and with the country’s burgeoning population and uneven development, this has serious consequences.

Poor implementation

The report highlights a mismatch between the government’s announced intents and actions. The Bill for Compensatory Afforestation Funds has been passed, but rampant violation of Forest Rights Acts continue; scheme to issue soil health cards was launched in 2015 to combat desertification, but only 23 per cent of the target has been met.

Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana was launched in 2014 for development of villages but 80 per cent of the Members of Parliament are yet to identify villages under the scheme; and only 40 per cent of the Member of Parliament Local Area Development Funds have been spent.

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Published on January 19, 2017
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