India-Where Rain Halts Life…

From East India to the West and from Northern parts of the country to the South, the rains this monsoon have reignited the questionable drainage patterns of the country. It indeed is not just the Global Warming which needs to be blamed but a lot more.

Significant Several Killed/ Stranded due to Floods

Gujarat- The NDRF has come up with the latest statistics of the death toll in Gujarat, the state with the longest coastline, owing to the flood condition since the past few weeks. The alarming number is approximately above 120. The Meteorological Department confirmed that the state’s expected rainfall this monsoon was not more than 900mm and the state has already received more than half of the predicted quantity which is 555mm. With 2 more months remaining for the monsoon to leave, the government faces a strict challenge to not let the death toll multiply further.

Rajasthan- As much of an oxymoron as it may sound, even the ‘driest’ state of the country doesn’t seem to be spared by the menace of monsoon rainfall. State officials have come up with certain latest figures which are suggestive of 25 deaths in the past week.  Tourists also faced the brunt as they remained stranded while Mount Abu recorded the highest rainfall in its history on July 24, 2017, resulting in a flood like situation.

Assam- More than 13,000 people in Assam were left stranded and terribly affected as the flood like situation continues to last since the inception of the rainfall season. Till now, it is an alarming figure of more than 75 lives which have been lost.

Delhi-NCR- As far as the national capital is concerned, the incessant rain around Gurugram and Delhi NCR Region is giving a tough time to the daily office commuters as it is taking them as long as 4 hours to cover a stretch of 20-25 kms.  Besides, the helplessness of the commuters is being cashed upon by various cab service providers as the prices surge up to a high of Rs. 150 for a mere distance of 5kms.

Recurring annual problems- Solutions, maybe?

Having an Un-Blocked drainage and an accountable system could help: The various road management departments in all states of the country must come up with a common Pre-Monsoon Action Plan for the purpose of monitoring the same.  In Delhi, for instance, the PWD, the NDMC and the NHAI must adopt a fresh stance for desilting. Perhaps what can be done is that the trash from cleared drains is put in landfills to solve unnecessary clogging and  dirt, instead of leaving it open as it ends up choking drains once flown back.

Better road designing: A set pattern of roads needs to be followed. Examination suggests that despite having several arterial roads, rain seems to clog water as most of the roads have an error-ed slope construction to be blamed which does not allow the rain water to recede naturally. Slip roads on the other hand tend to flood in the easiest way. While population seems to be on an incessant rise, more stress needs to be laid upon improving the drainage system.

Green patches to be encouraged: The authorities also need to understand the importance of growing green grass patches around trees, local parks and along the roadsides. These green patches act as natural sponges which absorb water that pours down on the planet but what is being done is cementing which takes away a simple effort towards minimising water retention on the roads.

Improved traffic management: The biggest nightmare associated with rains is the traffic ridden roads that comes along with it. Currently, we just have 1,200 police strength as against 5,500 population on the roads.  An improved deployment would enable better water management resulting in less chances of floods.

While the pace of business is at a standstill in various states of India, it is the routine life of people which has come to a halt- whether it is going to school, earning a living, or more so making their ends meet.

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Time, Environment and Resources: ‘Public Transport Days’ can save all

By Naina Sharma

Gustavo Perto rightly quoted, “A developed country is not a place where the poor have cars. It’s where the rich use public transport“. 

From this, let’s come down to calculating the average number of cars a family in South Delhi owns. Well, having reduced the sizes of roads to half,  the average number of cars parked outside the multi-storey houses is 3. And then, we hear people cribbing over calls for reasons like, “Its taking me too long to reach. Delhi traffic sucks!”. From being the reason behind getting late to reach your destination, fatal road accidents to being accountable for cause of stress among majority of the population, traffic is no less than an epidemic which needs to be desperately dealt with.

WHERE TRAFFIC HAS SLOWED DOWN LIFE

Research by road design experts and engineers suggests a drastic increase in the duration of time spent by Delhiites on the roads of the uber busy capital.   There has been a 50% decrease in the speed of vehicles in the traffic over the past 5 years. Calculations further validate the alarming traffic conditions.  On an average, a person travelling a distance of 40 km by a private vehicle ends up wasting 3.43 hours on the road today, in contrast to 1.3 hours in the year 2010. Also, the average travel speed has also cut down immensely from 42 kmph to 20 kmph (between 5pm to 7pm which are the peak traffic hours in Delhi).

Another form of research indicates that the average speed of Delhi will crawl down to 5 kmph in the next 10 years if the startling traffic rates persist. Strangely, 5 kmph is the walking speed of an average human.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT DAYS: A VIABLE ALTERNATE? 

The need of the hour has moved way beyond encouragement to use Public Transport, what we must rather order is the exercise of dedicating few days in a month as ‘Public Transport Days’. The main means of transport which could be used during these days could be buses, pool-in taxis and metros. Since its scorchingly hot in the country, the possibility to use cycle as a mode of commuting, gets negated itself.

car vs. public transport space

(Image: Press-Office City of Müenster, Germany)

FOREIGN COUNTRIES: A PARADIGM TO LEARN FROM

United Kingdom has cities such as Hove which have developed a ‘Talking Bus Stop’ system for helping visually impaired people to access public transport. The fact that India is home to 33% of the total population of blind people, which is an approximate of  12 million against 39 million globally, initiatives such as that of Talking Bus Stops coupled with the concept of Public Transport Days become highly imperative.

Other than this, cities like Cairo in Egypt offer metro services at a lower cost as compared to India. While the Indian Metro ticket cost ranges between $0.12 – $0.46, the metro ticket cost in Cairo is no more than $0.06.

Also, America comes in as a stupendous inspiration the number of trips taken by Americans in the year 2013, was an impressive figure of 10.7 billion. Besides, 450 millions of gallons are saved when people adopt public transportation.

POOR PAST OF PUBLIC TRANSPORT DAYS

It was in the month of April, 2010 when the State Transport Authority (STA) of Nagpur asked people to observe Public Transport Day on a particular weekend. But it was the tremendous and insensitive lack of awareness which resulted in poor response on almost all the routes and roads.

Perhaps, the requirement lies in observing such days on National Levels rather than State Levels. Further, it is essential for the idea to be publicized, promoted and have severe consequences if not implemented as per government guidelines. Also, the vision of Public Transport Day needs to accepted  by the rich and renowned people in India for it to be extensively adopted by  the masses. After all, a developed country is where the rich use public transport!!!

(With Inputs from Agencies).