Bus-rail link: Modi govt plan to synchronise modes of transport is spot on

Central government’s plan to synchronize modes of transportation for seamless movement of goods and passengers, reduce congestion and pollution is a step in the right direction but the success of ambitious plan lies with its execution.

Multi-modal transport is a seamless movement of goods and passengers involving at least two different means of transport. This would come under the umbrella National Transport Master Plan of the government.

The Rs 10 lakh crore plan will include construction of multi-modal transport hubs that will have railway stations, light railway stations (metro) and bus terminals under one roof.

The plan to integrate various modes of transport will start being executed in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency, Varanasi. The country’s first multi-modal hub with rail-road connectivity will be in the city. The hub would be a pilot for other 50-60 projects planned by the central government.

To begin with, the thrust will be on connecting the bus terminal with the railway station to provide a seamless transportation facility to travellers.

A study was initiated in Varanasi to ascertain the traffic and its origin and it found that most of it came from Lucknow and Gorakhpur.

The idea is to de-congest Varanasi by developing a bus-rail link, which will cater for tourists visiting the city. It is believed to be a brainchild of Modi, who asked Union road transport, highways and shipping minister Nitin Gadkari to implement it.

In most cities, bus stations, airports, and railway stations were situated far from each other. If all were integrated, a lot of traffic congestion and pollution could be reduced.

In order to reduce traffic congestion and pollution, and make the movement of passengers and goods efficient and cost-effective, the country needs to adopt holistic and integrated transport planning for the sector as a whole, including roads, railways, waterways and airways.

Varanasi serves as a gateway to the nearby religious tourism spots of Sarnath, Vindhyachal, Sonbhadra and Chunar.

According to the Uttar Pradesh government data, more than 200 million tourists visited Uttar Pradesh from 2011 to 2015.

Varanasi is one of the 13 cities the ministry of tourism has identified for development under the Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spirituality Augmentation Drive (PRASAD).

In the Union Budget this year, the scheme has received Rs 100 crore. Varanasi is the starting point of the ministry of shipping’s programme to develop 1,620 km of the Ganga for transportation. The river’s stretch up to Haldia will have 30 ports.

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