Bhubaneshwar City Dialogue on Clean Air and Sustainable Mobility: An Agenda for Action
The collaborative workshop on Clean air and Sustainable Mobility: An agenda for action in Bhubaneswar was a joint initiative of the Bhubaneswar Development Authority and the New Delhi based Centre for Science and Environment. The city dialogue, held on August 20, 2013 in Mayfair Hotel Bhubaneswar and was attended by nearly 110 participants.
The objective of this meet was to discuss critical issues of air quality management, public health protection, and the challenges of public transport and congestion. This forum will captured the learning from initiatives adopted in Bhubaneswar and share experiences from Delhi and other cities to evolve strategies for future policy action.
CSE released its findings and assessment of Rapid Perception Survey and was continued by selected citizen stakeholders of Bhubaneswar who gave their take on mobility conditions and required strategies for the city on this occasion. The survey was conducted to understand people’s perception of air pollution and mobility problems in the city. This was addressed by Vishal K. Dev, Vice Chairman, Bhubaneswar Development Authority; Sanjiv Mishra, Commissioner, Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation. Among the other panelists who participated were, S. K. Ratho, Special Secretary, Housing and Urban Development Department, Govt. of Odisha; Raj Kanwar Nayak, project consultant and coordinator IIT Kharagpur; Tuhin Subhra Maparu, Project Officer, Architecture and Regional Planning, IIT Kharagpur; Ajay Singh, Director of Superior Global Infrastructure; and B.M. Bhol, Senior Environmental Scientist, State Pollution Control Board, Bhubaneswar
This inter-city dialogue on our common challenges and solutions across cities is part of an experience sharing dialogue series initiated by clean air and mobility programme of CSE to build up a nation-wide debate on the grass root challenges of mobility and public health crisis in our cities.
The amazing range and depth of discussions and debate on air quality and mobility challenges during the dialogue will continue to enrich our knowledge and strengthen our action in Bhubaneswar. This is possible because of the valuable and insightful vision shared by our deeply revered panel members who are also reputed experts in their fields and representative of the different stakeholder communities including participants from civil society, academia, press, students as so on.
The Bhubaneswar dialogue forum discussed and debated on issues related to air quality benefits of first generation reforms, emerging air quality and health challenges, issues related to sub-utilisation of public transport systems including the tramways in the city and poor facilities for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users. The expert panel recommended that parking norms should be tightened across the city and the city must shift focus from car centric development towards providing mobility choices to majority of people who either walks, cycle, or take public transport.
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Indian cities were originally designed as compact entities to reduce travel trip length. But with rapid urbanization and motorization, our sprawling cities are becoming victims of killer pollution, congestion, and a crippling oil guzzling, car dependent infrastructure that endangers our quality of life. While sprawling cities, flyovers and signal- free corridors are increasing distances, subways and foot overbridges are taking away the right of pedestrians to cross at grade; gated communities are increasing dependence on personal vehicles.