The Road Ahead

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Gautam Gambhir
Dear Mr Prime Minister


A Concept paper for the city of Delhi


Delhi today has the unfortunate distinction of being the “rape capital” of the world. In the near future, it is also on the path to becoming one of the most uninhabitable cities in the world. In order to reverse or arrest these troubling trends, I have conceptualized the following:

This concept paper is an attempt to resolve one of Delhi’s most serious woes –namely, road usage. Similar problems at different levels are apparent in other cities. The bottom line is poor planning leading to costly implementation. Addressing these issues is critical to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of achieving a growth into a 5 trillion dollar economy in the next 5 years.

While the government has begun to address these issues through the recent amendments to the much awaited Motor Vehicles Bill, more can be done to alleviate the situation.

I reproduce a young architect report on Delhi’s road “I find cities have poor road condition, road geometry, inappropriate road markings, lack of zebra crossing etc. on roads which is serious matter. Further, most of the road users do not follow traffic rules. I joined ArriveSAFE to contribute to the cause of road safety.” This is the state after 73 years of Independence and having the best planners and architects.

A recent published report showed that “Fuel worth Rs 40lakhs was wasted daily due to snarl on 3km stretch to airport”. and an IIT study showed 2.5 lakhs litres/day wastage on the Dhaula Kuan stretch. Just imagine the amount of time and fuel saved if we have a seamless journey with no snarls and wait time.

The traffic issue is not just an economic issue, it is also related to safety, security, and accessibility, and is fundamental to improving our quality of life as citizens of Delhi.
Hopefully if well implemented it could be substituted all over India with or without changes.

As a physically challenged resident of Delhi, the stakes of this issue are extremely high for others like me who have mobility and accessibility issues. During my illness and after, I was subjected to finding my own transportation from my home to medical and rehabilitation centers. None of the available and suggested transportation, be it the Metro, scooter taxis or the famed Ola and Uber cabs, provided the necessary relief. I am now forced to drive myself across the city every day.

Thus the much heralded “The Right of Persons with Disabilities Act (RPWI) Act 2016” which should have been implemented by June 15, 2019 is another example of failures of planning, implementation and procedures.


Unfortunately, we have to humbly accept that, to date, all our Master Plans on various fronts, have failed. Further, all plans, eventually, require the Supreme Court’s intervention, resulting in costly, lengthy and time consuming litigation.

The Draft Master Plan 2021, notified in February 7, 2007, has to be reviewed once every five years. The first review started early in September 2011 and the Union Urban Development Ministry said that the Plan had failed to meet requirements of Delhi. According to DDA, the plan will be finalised by August with a minimum of 100 changes.

One of the reasons for the plan’s failures was the unanticipated and phenomenal growth of population and automobiles in Delhi.

While earlier plans anticipated approximately 6000 vehicles on the roads, in reality, Delhi’s road usage has grown to 32, 46,637 vehicles, including cars and jeeps. Auto rickshaws number 1, 30,074. There were in total 70, 78,428 two wheelers, including motorcycles and scooters, showing a growth rate of 7.12 per cent. The growth rate of vehicles in Delhi during 2017-18 was recorded at 5.81 per cent.

Meanwhile, for the year 2001, the projected population was 128 lakhs, although the population in fact grew to 137.80 lakhs.

With a plethora of different types of transportation, the city is witnessing unprecedented road mishaps and road rage, resulting in a variety of serious problems pertaining to congestion, pollution, safety of travel, etc. which will have to be squarely addressed.

The 2041 Master Plan must address ground realities and the shortfalls of all previous plans.


The NCRPR (National Capital Region Planning Board and NCR (National Capital Region) Delhi (NCR) is divided into 15 zones (8 in Urban, I in River Bed and 6 in Rural Area.) As a pilot project, this paper addresses a part of Lutyens zone (Zone X).

I propose the plan can and should be implemented on January 1, 2020, just as the West implemented overnight driving on the right hand side of the road.

My proposal is that all the main roads with two or three lanes should have specific lanes earmarked for buses, cars and the third for “EMERGENCY VEHICLES, VIP MOVEMENT. There should be systematic overtaking for cars from second lane to third lane and return to second lane.

Buses would ply only on lane 1 and they should not be allowed to overtake, irrespective of load or traffic. They should stop only at designated/marked bus stops to pick up or drop passengers in an orderly manner. If implemented correctly, traffic will be regulated and some sense will be brought to road traffic management system.

Thus making Delhi a one way and circular movement with no right turns allowed on main roads and there will be no “Gap in Verge”. Unless there is a traffic crossing where you can turn right all exits will always be from the left. Of course during, implementation stage, low cost corrections to existing bottlenecks shall be made.

The BRT experience should not be repeated.

The movement of bicycles, two and three wheelers and pedestrians, preferably, should be totally banned on these roads. If we have wide pathways to accommodate bicycles and pedestrians, then build facilities accordingly and they will become part of the scheme.

All vehicles will be driven at 50 km/hour, buses maybe at 40 km/hour and stop at all roundabouts till they are empty, then flow into the roundabout and go about their route. Basically, follow the “Use of roads to the “T”.The roundabout should be totally empty before any vehicle is allowed in. As a common courtesy traffic coming from the right would be given preference.

I had submitted a similar proposal sometime in 1991 and it was returned by the Personal Assistant to the Minister as an elitist and bourgeois plan and in the 2000’s to the Chief Minister who said where is the money to implement such a scheme.

The time has come to implement otherwise the traffic in Delhi will be become herculean and the city become unlivable. I was reading a UN funded report about Delhi’s traffic which envisages future projections of 44000 kms of road.

Where is the land?


All motorists and truckers will be subject to having their driving skills verified and their licenses accordingly endorsed. They must be educated to the rules of the road.


Bus stops will be marked and used by users in an orderly manner and no crowding will be allowed.
In this manner the buses will stop and depart, in an organized manner. Non conforming any rules, the driver will be heavily penalized since this is a “No error” scheme. The Marshals/CCTV will ensure the performance.

Scooters and three wheelers

All scooters, three wheelers will use secondary routes and never allowed on the main roads. During implementation stage these roads will be charted to give least inconvenience to users- certainly it will be painful for everyone but, if successful, it shall resolve problems of women safety and be an impetus to our Prime Ministers vision of a 5 million dollar economy.


Since none of the other vehicles will be allowed on the roads, the electric rickshaws which have been haphazardly licensed can effectively be used inside colonies from the main road to their point of disembarkation.


No person will be allowed to loiter on the roads and all pedestrian crossings with be realigned to international specifications and the Marshals will ensure proper usage


All further construction in Delhi or 1600 sq kms approx. should be stopped till we have reinvented the city say by beginning 2021, at which time we can start the planning and implementation of MPD 2041 or 2051.

The ill planned and conceived Netaji Nagar Housing/Commercial eyesore is already being addressed by the High Court of Delhi and some more thoughtless construction behind Safdarjung Hospital (The World Trade Centre, Bhikaji Cama Place and now the SDMC Hq at ITO etc. should be stopped.

More importantly the much heralded ISBT at Sarai Kale Khan should be stopped. It will be another eyesore and heavy congestions are anticipated as is already apparent.


Suitable helicopters, drones will be stationed at Safdarjung Airport/or any place designated by the Government to do an airlift of any Emergency patient stuck in any kind of traffic jam and broken down vehicles will be airlifted to their respective repair depots, to avoid any delay in road blocks.

Previous Efforts-The BRT


Since, in the initial stage, there are approx 28000 kms to address, my suggestion is, to employ, as a paid civil service or military training for 2/3 years to create employment and civic sense to 10thor 12th class or graduates (depending on the governments plan of growth for our children).

They will be referred to as Marshals. Each batch of two Marshals will be given one km to be the eyes n ears of the government, which translates to 28000 kms*3shift*2 per km (one at each end) = 168000 youths/annually gainfully employed and this experience should be an integral part of their resume for furthering their careers.

Each pair of Marshal, who will be technological equipped, will be totally responsible for that one km, which would also include the monitoring of the bus stops, cleanliness and other facilities which may be added to give the best, look to the city.

Whilst conceptualising this paper I came across Newspaper reports of CISF New Control Room and the CCTV Project: Govt panel Okays Phase 2- whereas for Phase 1 the Govt had already spent Rs 571 crores, without checking on the results. Moreover, we don’t have uninterrupted power supply and the experience is that the output from the CCTV is of very poor quality. Thus it will be cropped as another failure.


If this Concept paper has an in Principle acceptability by September 30, 2019, a letter of intent along with a token amount of Rs 1 crore (accountable) should be issued to me or to any agency, you prefer, so that a DPR and working model will be prepared along with the representative of the Chairman of NDMC, and other related authorities by November 30, 2019. Then distributed to the various agencies for implementation support on January 1, 2020.


The success of such an exercise for 6 months will give impetus to implementing similar schemes in other zones and then replicated to pan India.


If we want to make the city of Delhi an international metropolis, bring law and order on the road, environmental control and safety we have to implement this in a time bound manner and there will be no concessions permitted after January1, 2020.

The other proposals of Delhi, such as, water and electricity etc will run simultaneously.

No construction of government and non government buildings should be permitted, till we have the bull by its horn.

It would best be to “implement the radical test, ban all cars in selected areas just as, cars all but banned on an NYC street”, as an example/


The initial funding to prepare the DPR will be borne by the PM’s development fund, local MPLADS funds and the balance funding by traffic challans and Insurance who will be one of the greatest beneficiaries with low accident rate and lesser mortality. I just read about the “roll out Rs 700 crores grant to reward states that cut road deaths.

The Author to this concept paper is:

Mr. Abhai Varma, a 69 years young resident and visionary for the city of Delhi. He has done his schooling from St Columba’s School and attended Hindu College and graduated from the University in Delhi. He is a keen aviator and held a Commercial Pilot’s Licence. During the course of work, he travelled extensively, all over the world and gained / expanded his vision from his international travel and extensive reading.
He can be contacted at:
Mobile no +919811085770
The Petition was also marked to:
Mr Kejriwal
It is well written but i do not think that any one beleive to live in such standard. One think you have not mentioned green parks required in delhi to increase ozone quality instead of shopping parks growing day by day. more  
Dec 26
Thank you........I was not planning the city but addressed the utilization of the roads to save the day and the future. After writing my piece I lfurther learnt that the Government has earmarked Rs 20,000 crore for the 28000 kms roads in Delhi to decongest the roads by 2020...........that is more money to finish Delhi more  
Dec 29

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