Babus to see BRT in Southeast Asia

Babus to see BRT in Southeast Asia

The Delhi government is planning to send a delegation to study elevated Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) corridors and tolled expressways in Southeast Asian countries like Malaysia and Singapore.

The plan seems timed around the dismantling of south Delhi’s Ambedkar Nagar-Moolchand BRT corridor that evoked public anger for causing inconvenience over the past eight years.

Sources said the delegation to the Southeast Asian country may also include Public Works Department Minister Satyendar Jain, who has been instrumental in saving around Rs 350 crore in an elevated road project in north Delhi.

Engineers from the same team which successfully completed the elevated road project are likely to be roped in for the new BRT project, said an official.

Assessment of the benefits from the elevated road between Mangolpuri-Madhuban Chowk would also be considered to prepare a Delhi specific model of a network of elevated roads for congestion-
free movement of vehicles, said an official.

The Johor Bahru Rapid Transit System to link Singapore with Malaysia and the BRT Sunway Line in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia are likely to be studied during the visit, said an official, adding that the AAP government now is keen on a BRT corridor in which the buses move on the extreme left lane and not in the middle as on the Ambedkar Nagar-Moolchand BRT corridor.

While starting the demolition of the Delhi BRT on January 19, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had described it as a bad “copy paste” exercise from abroad.

The Rs 180 crore BRT corridor was built in 2008 by the Congress government led by the Sheila Dikshit.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has also dropped strong hints about his government looking at a drastic solution like a double-decker elevated roads which would dedicate one level to BRT and the other for signal free toll expressway for fast traffic movement.

Kejriwal is looking at the possibility of a high toll rate for those who use the expressway for their private vehicles and subsidise the public transport system.

A proposal to build an elevated road over the existing Ring Road was struck down in the mid-2000s. Another proposal for elevated East-West corridor ran into trouble in 2011 due to objections related to heritage site falling on its route.

According to Sisodia, the demolition of the existing BRT corridor was a poll promise which the government is fulfilling. The cabinet decided to scrap the BRT corridor in July 2015. The dismantling of over five km stretch of BRT will be completed by February at a cost of around Rs 3.5 crore.