A Mass Rapid Transit System (Rail) for Gurugram
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This is a petition to implement a Mass Rapid Transit System (Rail) for intra-city transport in Gurugram (formerly Gurgaon).
The extent of the problem
This petition has been started from the perspective of fighting city air pollution and simultaneously reducing traffic congestion in Gurugram. Real time data on the Air Quality Index (AQI) at the Vikas Sadan Air Monitoring Station in Gurgaon forecast the median levels of Particulate Matter (PM) 2.5 in the week starting 18th September, 2017 to fall in the 89 – 137 range, where a value from 50-100 is classified as ‘Moderate’ and that between 100 and 150 as ‘Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups’. In the early hours of Monday and Tuesday, AQI levels had crossed the 150 mark, settling at 158, which is categorised as ‘Unhealthy for All Groups’, where everybody may experience adverse health effects. This is only expected to worsen in the coming months. In November, 2016, PM 2.5 levels had touched 600, wherein a value above 300 is categorised as 'Hazardous' and all individuals are advised to remain indoors at all times. To visualize the extent of the pollution problem, click here to see a comparison between the lungs of 50 year old males who needed heart surgery, with the left representing the male from Himachal Pradesh and the right from the Delhi NCR region. Although this is not a representative sample, it still highlights the extent of the problem.
That’s ok, but why a Mass Rapid Transit System?
Although no detailed studies exist on the sources of emissions and resulting air pollution in Delhi NCR, the Centre for Science and Environment has estimated that broadly, the key sources of emissions in Gurugram are the proliferation of motorised vehicles, especially diesel vehicles and extensive use of diesel generators. The report also highlights the importance of switching from private transport to public transport, in view of its environmental benefits (use of electric and hybrid technology as opposed to petrol and diesel), as well as reduction in traffic congestion. Therefore, targeting the transport sector would make a significant dent on air pollution. In 2013, the Rapid MetroRail Gurgaon Limited (RMGL) began operations to construct and operate the Rapid Metro public transportation service, which connects some key areas in Gurgaon, covering a route length of 11.7 kms, built over the last four years. Due to its limited connectivity, this service is highly underused in Gurgaon. In 2016, the daily ridership was estimated at around 35,000 people. To put these figures in context, the number of vehicles that ply on Gurgaon roads daily is close to 450,000.
The Government of India recently sanctioned projects aimed at providing metro rail connectivity to 9 cities in India, including Lucknow, Nagpur, Chennai and others. Ironically, Gurgaon does not feature in this list. This petition is a modest effort to bring Gurgaon, one of the most polluted cities in the country and in Delhi NCR, under the ambit of the cities for which an intra-city metro rail service will be provided. With a bustling population of 2.5 million (2016 figure), we are all at serious risk of experiencing health hazards, with reduced lung capacities, and eventually, compromised longevity.
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