Two cities of Odisha have been selected to be transformed as Smart Cities. Our state capital Bhubaneswar has topped the list of the 1st 20 cities of the country. We should express our sincere thanks to the citizenry of Bhubaneswar and Rourkela for this historical achievement.
Smart City depends much on improved transport. The role of goods transport plays a pivotal role to keep our city hassle free, clean and worthy for quality living. We see that around 500 vehicles of different categories and sizes transport the material daily from different parts of India through Bhubaneswar. The momentum of vehicles is fast increasing keeping pace with the growing demand. Hence, transforming Bhubaneswar in to a smart city without addressing to goods transport sector may be a day dream. As Smart City permits development of green field townships, a Logistic Park as a green field initiative can be created to make our city green, clean and free from road accidents. That is the way we must think and act.
Our Smart city plans will be implemented by a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to enable a focused effort for effective implementation. Many private and public sector companies are interested to participate as stake holder partners of a Logistic Park, reducing the equity load to the state government and Local Body. We can achieve the targeted ambitious expenditure plan of Rs.5,500crore, if the Logistic Park remains in the Smart City action plan.
As the prime objective of the Smart city mission is to enhance quality of urban life, Bhubaneswar shall have a sector specific core infrastructure in form of Logistic Park to provide a quality and decent life to citizens. The Logistic Park will enable a clean environment and provide smart solutions to the problems of Bhubaneswar. It would herald a qualitative change in the living standards of the residents.Bhubaneswar can accommodate a large section of slum dwellers, engaged in transport sector, in the residential zone of the Logistic Park by constructing rehabilitation and settlement apartments. The Park can organize in the manner to have zero impact on the civic life. The Transport Nagar can accommodate the offices and godowns of the transporters, workshops of the vehicle manufacturers and other garages, spare part shops, Diesel Pumps, Weigh Bridges, Banks and ATMs, Dormitory, Laundry, Saloons, Health Centres, 24×7 ambulance Service, Security and Police outpost, Multiplex, Multispecialty Clinics, Trauma care Centre, Driving Training Centre, Hotel and Dhaba, Restaurants etc.
The city Police authorities have imposed restriction on entry of heavy vehicles to their respective city limits beginning from 08:00AM to 10:00PM; for which loaded trucks are forced to be parked on road sides. The situation not only creates congestion of the highways but also wastes 14 hours of valuable time of the stranded truckers. Besides, open air defecation and washing of trucks is a common scene in the outskirts of the cities as the trucks are stranded on highways.
A Transport Nagar can accommodate all the heavy vehicles helping the National Highways free from congestion. The theft of goods loaded in the trucks can be ruled out, if parked inside Transport Nagar. Traffic, law & order position of the city can be furthered and regulated, if the inter-state trucks are parked in the Logistic Park.The small and permissible trucks, which can enter into the city limits, can transport goods from Transport Nagar to market points for the convenience of the transporters and general public. There shall be no detention of the vehicles.Huge amount of man power engaged in loading and unloading, trolley men, transport staff, small and medium truck drivers and helpers suffer from huge financial loss, as they get no work during the working hours of the day. Thousands of youth, who got engaged in transport profession by availing vehicle finance from banks, fail to repay bank instalments, as the lorry movement period is restricted.There can be documentation on the Trucks and the revenue earnings of the state as well as the ULB can be enhanced without any leakage.
The contribution of road transport to the process of economic development could be greatly enhanced by the ability of this industry to provide superior quality service and reduce total distribution costs through reductions in freight charges. The key elements, which could make this reduction in cost and superior service possible are high levels of taxation, road conditions, detention at check posts, creation of Logistic Parks at important growth centers and addressing the problems related to inadequate and high cost of finance. Truck delays at checkpoints have been estimated to cost the economy anywhere between Rs.9 billion and Rs.23 billion a year in lost truck-operating hours. To reduce delays at border crossings, particularly for high value or time-sensitive goods, consideration of a system is essential.
In the interest of the economy and trade and to decongest the entry points to Bhubaneswar, Transport Nagar / Logistic Parks are required with the objective to provide modern and functionally efficient truck operation for the smart city, beneficial to the transport operators, lorry booking agents and the general public.
Central Government is required to initiate a review into the requirements for an efficient and sustainable national freight transport system, encompassing all freight transport modes. With an economy dominated by roads and road transport, it is increasingly important that truckers have much the same right as the railways to travel interstate with a minimum of delays. Legal and administrative reforms are needed in this area to function effectively as a single market.Odisha government should identify a piece of land, ask the SPV to notify construction of a Logistic Park under PPP mode at Bhubaneswar. We are sure, Bhubaneswar will be the most decent a smart city, people love to stay in.