Under the proposal, a single authority or the BMLTA will be the one-point planning authority for a comprehensive and coordinated approach to mobility.

A busy road in Bengaluru piled with trafficREPRESENTATION PHOTO
news Transport Saturday, September 11, 2021 - 15:00

Stating that Bengaluru’s infamous traffic snarls are due to the haphazard planning and management of transport in the city over the last few decades, many citizen-activist groups, NGOs along with campaigning platform Jhatkaa, want the state government to table the Bengaluru Metropolitan Land Transport Authority (BMLTA) Bill in the upcoming Assembly session starting Monday, September 13. For this, activists are also urging the public to take part in a ‘Call Your MLA’ campaign and urging their representatives to speak in favour of this Bill. The organisations include Janaagraha, Bengaluru Moving, Sensing Local, Whitefield Rising among others.

Under this law, a single authority or the BMLTA will be the one-point planning authority for a comprehensive and coordinated approach to mobility. At present, multiple government agencies like the BMTC (bus), BMRCL (metro), Karnataka Transport Department and  Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) cater to intra-city travel and a lack of coordination and integrated foresight has resulted in the situation getting worse. In a recent development, a dedicated suburban rail connection to the Kempegowda International Airport was deprioritised by authorities reportedly in favour of the metro. This, when the metro connection will take at least four years to complete, while the dedicated rail connection would have taken around a year’s time. A petition at the Karnataka High Court too had pointed out how the BMRCL had been carrying out metro projects allegedly without implementing binding conditions like Comprehensive Mobility Plan (CMP) and an Integrated Traffic Ratio Rationalisation Plan (ITRRP).

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The concept of BMLTA was also introduced by the Union government in 2006 as part of the national Urban Transport Policy (NUTP) by the Ministry of Urban Development. Following that the BMLTA was established in 2007 as a unified authority with the aim to move from private vehicle-dependent to public transport-oriented development in Bengaluru but without any executive power or budgetary allocation.

Now, citizen activists want a revised draft Bill prepared by the Directorate of Urban Land Transport (DULT) to be tabled in the Assembly. The draft Bill has provisions for DULT (a Transport Department entity) to be the professional statutory body with financial powers required to coordinate between the different mobility stakeholders, plan for an integrated and comprehensive mobility vision for the city and convene the different stakeholders including civil society. Other than the ‘Call your MLA’ campaign, the activists are also running a #BMLTABeku social media campaign across platforms and tagging the Chief Minister and other senior ministers. An online petition was also started, which can be found here.

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