'Combination of factors lead to traffic jams'

Mukesh Sharma, parliamentary secretary to chief minister Sheila Dikshit, defends the government’s decision to build 75 flyovers in the past 14 years.
He says they make traffic flow much easier in the city. Excerpts from an interview with Sandeep Yadav:

Experts say flyovers are not helping?

Well, the government has made these flyovers after consultation with lots of experts. Maybe we are talking to two different sets of experts. I agree that other related infrastructure, like wide arterial roads free from encroachment, is also required along with flyovers. But to say that building flyovers does not help is completely wrong.

Then why is Delhi not jam-free?

Are New York, London, Tokyo jam-free? Delhi is no different from these top metros of the world and like them has four kinds of road systems – overbridges, underpasses, elevated roads and general roads. Also, please take into account the amount of vehicle movement we have. The fact remains that the biggest advantage of flyovers is that they reduce the distances between two points since vehicles can cover this distance in minutes. Also, saving petrol in turn. For example, a flyover between points A and B is always helpful. Maybe vehicles going from point B to C or C to D, which do not have a flyover between them, will get stuck in a jam.

It also means you have to face the jam, if not at B then at point C or at D.
But not if you are going from A to B only. If there was no flyover between these two points, they too will get stuck in the jam. At least, people travelling between these two points are relieved.

But even the flyovers are seen clogged these days?

That is for a short duration during peak hours when the whole city is going out of home or returning home in evening.

So you are saying there is nothing wrong with building flyovers?

Take a hypothetical situation. Suddenly, overnight, the vehicles and population of Delhi reduce to half. Will there be any problem on roads? But suppose it increases by 20 per cent in the next 10 years, there will be lots of problems. All I want to say is that the problem is not flyovers in isolation, but the combination of several factors – like 74 lakh vehicles, close to two crore population of Delhi. All resources are then going to face the heat, isn’t it?

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