MMRDA future is in transport: Asthana


Metropolitan commissioner asks successor to not look at any other infrastructure.

To avoid losing focus, MMRDA should in future concentrate only on transport.

This is the message of metropolitan commissioner Rahul Asthana, who retires Thursday after 35 years of government service, to his yet-to-be-named successor.

"MMRDA should concentrate on regional and transport infrastructure, not look at any other infrastructure development. For example, power is an important sector where infrastructure needs to be developed, but if we get into it we will lose focus," said Asthana, who had taken over from Ratnakar Gaikwad in March 2011.

In the tenure of Gaikwad, MMRDA spread in several areas, including transport infrastructure. Several projects were conceived, such as an innovation park to encourage scientific research, a mangrove park and public toilets.

Asthana, an IAS officer of the 1978 batch, streamlined the development authority to make transport-related infrastructure its focus and concentrated on completion of ongoing projects.

As a result, several projects are due for completion in 2013. Eastern Freeway will be completed by March or April, Milan rail over-bridge will be opened before monsoon, Sahar elevated road will become operational once the new airport terminal is completed, while the much-delayed Santacruz Chembur Link Road is likely to be ready by yearend. Monorail and Metro will also roll out this year.

"It would have been nice to be present while the projects attain completion, but I am happy to have taken so many projects to the completion stage," Asthana said.

However, he said, elevated roads were not a sustainable solution and to address larger traffic woes, roads should be wider and the number of vehicles should be capped.

Asthana, who now becomes member of Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission, said the government should adopt measures such as congestion fee and augmenting parking facilities.

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