Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Europe is the answer

I am not a technical expert on infrastructure, but looking at two geographies which have different transportation infrastructures, I perceived what could be better.. I might be completely wrong

There is a lot of talk about infrastructure in India and I always follow it up.
Looking at the developments taking across India looks like India likes to follow the US way of infrastructure, building massive road network across the country. This strategy basically sucks. I agree we do need roads, but we cannot afford to have a road network as vast as US/China or even 50% of it. We just do not have enough land for that.

While Roads work for a country as big as the US, like China, this would utterly fail for a country like India. To build world class roads you need land and land acquisition in India is not as easy as in China ( mass displacment for roads is common in China). the NICE road however nice it could be did run into a lot of trouble over acquiring land (most of it was politically motivated, but am sure the number of acres was really a huge number.)

By building roads we are directly affecting the most abundant working class - the farmers.
On the second hand we are encouraging people to buy Cars which could be second worst thing to happen for a country with subsidised petrol/diesel prices and imports nearly 80%+ of its crude oil.

What we currently need is better conditioned roads which will increase efficiency of vehicles and a wider roads (like the golden quadilateral). Building parallel highways like the BMIC is a waste of everything (though its very attractive).

India should look up to europe and build a world class railway infrastructure. Every city/town in India should be connected by railway networks. Being already the biggest railway network in the world and the ability to make a 30K crore surplus surely shows that there is a huge potential in this mode of tansportation. Every city should run a metro like Bombay.Railways consume less space, and can be more efficient for mass transportation. Building high class service trains would make it attractive for all class of people to travel by trains.

And Europeans have proven that they are smarter than the US in many instances (europe banned lead in gasoline nearly 50 years before US completely realized the harmful effects of lead, same is happening with the GHGs) and having a demography and geography similar to europe (western europe) we should act the european way and not the Calfornian way.

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