Friday, November 29, 2013

District Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar gets India's first Non Motor Transport Government Society

District Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar gets India's first Non Motor Transport Society.

Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar, a district with many distinctions has got one more reason to celebrate for being the first of its kind in the country. This time it is not for being the best administered district of Punjab with all top officials as female or where male-female sex ratio (1000: 913) is second highest among all the districts of Punjab but this time for Institutionalizing the priority for vulnerable road users like cyclist, pedestrians, cycle rickshaw and other forms of Non motor transport. Today district administration of SBS Nagar constituted "Non Motor Transport Society" under the chairpersonship of the Deputy Commissioner with executive members like Executive Officers of all Municipal Councils of SBS District, Leading Bank Managers, Senior Police Officers, Public Works Department and experts for the non motor transport.

Non motor transport is a State Subject but, as a matter of fact the same very important mode of transportations is being taken care by multiple agencies, varying from Local bodies to Animal Husbandry.  No one owns the direct responsibility for Non Motor Transport and as a result, the equitable allocation of road space for non motor vs. motor transport is very biased towards motor transport. The society has been formed on the principles suggested in two important statutes, namely, Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Bill, 2012, and upcoming Non-motorized Vehicles & Pliers (Promotion, Regulation, Welfare and Conditions of service) Act, 2013.

"Each town and city of our country is facing urban mobility crisis, and priority for motor transport car centric development solution making it further worse for future generations. It is high time for the administration to act now, in order to achieve futuristic sustainable transport solution" said Ms. Anindita Mitra, Deputy Commissioner and Chairperson of Non Motor Transport Society, Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar. In the year 2012, 205 people died and 100 found seriously injured due to road accident in SBS Nagar District, which include large number of pedestrians and cyclists. "Repect for pedestrian and cyclists and more sidewalks are the symbol of any good democratic setup to tell people how much we respect our common man, who walks on the road for their bread and butter need.  Our move is a step forward towards the same mission", she added.  During her last posting as Additional Deputy Commissioner (Development) Patiala, she initiated the process of Training of 115 GreenCABS cycle rickshaw operators as Tourist Guides followed by free distribution of 288 cycle rickshaw trolleys from welfare funds.

At present more than 2500 cycle rickshaw operators are operational in SBS Nagar district. This provides a source of livelihood of more than 13,500 urban poor. The Society will have a strong support for the promotion of cycle rickshaw as an eco friendly mode of para transit for urban and rural areas given the directives issued by the Punjab and Haryana High Court related to implementation of Ecocabs in the state. As a primary function, the Society would work improve operational efficiency of Public transport system and support the livelihood people associated directly or indirectly with Non Motor Transport operations and other modes of Para transit Public transport. Society will also take care about the maintenance of footpaths and cycle tracks for safe pedestrian movement, along with promotion of cycle rickshaws and Ecocabs mainly in urban areas of district.

Apart from ex-officio members, the key external members have been taken on board - Mr Ravee Ahluwalia, from Patiala GreenCABS and Mr Navdeep Asija, founder Ecocabs. Both will advise the administration regarding the different activities related to Non Motor Transport, designs of footpaths, cycle tracks and sidewalks. This is a welcoming step and will set an example for the rest of district administration in order to institutionalize the process of recognizing importance of Non Motor Transport.