The Vice President of India M. Venkaiah Naidu today stressed that environment-friendly, financially and operationally viable mass transport solution was the need of the hour.He said that there was an urgent need to control the emission of Green House Gases and vehicular pollutants before the damage to the environment becomes irreversible.Speaking after inaugurating the Hubbali-Dharwad Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project in Karnataka, he called for steps to bring in behavioural change among urban dwellers to use mass transportation rather than using private vehicles. He asked local, municipal authorities of cities to encourage people to become pro-active partners in this process of transformation.Observing that congestion was one of the most formidable challenges being faced by Indian cities now, Shri Naidu said that an exponential increase in the number of vehicles plying on our roads every year has resulted in worsening Air Quality indices and was adversely affecting people's health.Stressing that economic growth and environmental conservation were not mutually exclusive goals, Shri Naidu called for considering climate vulnerability and other likely impacts to be factored in all developmental activitiesPointing out that cities account for two-thirds of global energy demand and 70% of carbon emissions, the Vice President stressed the need to build low-carbon, green and climate-resilient urban infrastructure.
Stating that development should not happen at the cost of quality of life, Shri Naidu opined that the current issues faced by almost all urban centers in India include poor quality of air, insufficient potable water supplies, poor sanitation, insufficient solid waste management facilities and limited public transport infrastructure, All these issues must be addressed at the earliest by way of sustainable and smart solutions.In this context, the Vice President asked the Government to encourage non-polluting Electric Vehicles by providing the right policy environment, and also by giving incentives. Along with building Mass Transportation infrastructure, the Vice President called for creating amenities like charging infrastructure for e-vehicles on the road, providing wider footpaths and properly planned pedestrian crossings, to make roads safer for those who cycle or walk.Observing that Road safety must be one of our priority areas, Shri Naidu said that it was unfortunate to note that over 1.5 lakh precious lives were lost in India to traffic accidents in 2018, mostly due to driving on the wrong side, the use of mobile phones and drunk driving.He also called for spreading awareness about road safety, especially among youngsters in schools and colleges regularly. Appealing to all stakeholders to work for building the better and climate resilient cities, Shri Naidu said that collaboration between private sector and the State and Union Governments was essential for sustainable urban development.The Hubballi-Dharwad Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) is already ferrying close to one lakh passengers between the twin cities in its trial run.The Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Coal & Mines, Shri Pralhad Joshi, the Deputy Chief Minister and Transport Minister of Karnataka, Shri Laxman Savadi, Deputy Chief Minister of Karnataka and Minister of PWD, Shri Govind M. Karjol, the Home Minister of Karnataka, Shri BasavrajBommai, Minister for Large & Medium Scale Industries, Govt. of Karnataka, Shri Jagadish Shettar and others were present at the event.