Mr. Alapan Bandyopadhyay, IAS, Principal Secretary, Department of Transport, Vice Chairman, Nabadiganta Industrial Township Authority & Managing Director, West Bengal Transport Infrastructure Development Corporation, addressed AmCham Eastern Region members on Friday, July 15, 2016 at The Hyatt Regency Kolkata, as chief guest, at an interactive breakfast session on “The West Bengal Transport Policy and Investment Opportunity.”
In his opening remarks Mr. Bandyopadhyay outlined the strategic importance of the state of West Bengal and the city of Kolkata in the context of opportunities for the Indian economy as a whole. He pointed out that Kolkata is the gateway to the east and is the largest city in many hundred kilometers in any direction. In this context, Mr. Bandyopadhyay pointed out the criticality of the transportation system both within the city as well as a trans-shipment location. Mr. Bandyopadhyay mentioned that significant investments have been planned in developing the inland waterways and that this would be transformational for the eastern region economy. Goods would be transported from upcountry along the waterways to markets in the east and north east and to neighboring countries. A deep sea port would be developed at Sagar Island which would result in restoring the strategic commercial importance of Kolkata.
The infrastructure of the city of Kolkata is being upgraded to address the requirements of the future. A three- pronged policy in this regard has been adopted in the transport sector:
(A) Strengthening and upgrading services being provided by the state transport undertakings and continuing to enhance the efficiencies
(B) Regulating services being provided by the private sector
(C) Strengthening of infrastructure facilities
Transport undertakings of the state play a pivotal role in the sphere of passenger transportation on road as well as on water transport sector through their state wide networks. The public transport sector is essential for providing transport services to areas covered by routes that are not remunerative, as these are avoided by private transport operators. The state government has, therefore, been expanding and upgrading the state transport undertakings. Efforts have been made to improve the efficiency of these undertakings by improving operating standards and by strengthening the infrastructure of these undertakings with funds from different sources. Consequently, the state transport undertakings are adopting certain measures like:
Increasing the average number of buses/ trams on roads per day
Increasing the percentage of fleet utilization against the fleet strength
Reducing the staff-bus ratio
Renovation of buses
Increasing KMPL rate
Utilization of unused or under-used land and spaces to increase revenue
The introductions to the session was done by Ms. Amada Kidwai, Regional Director – Eastern Region, AmCham, Mr. Joydeep Datta Gupta, AmCham EC member did the welcome remarks, Mr. Gulshan Sachdev, Vice Chairman, AmCham, gave the concluding remarks and Ms. Britta Leick-Milde gave the vote of thanks.