New Delhi, Nov 9 (PTI) Bhubaneswar and Agartala have emerged as the best cities in the country for innovation in urban transport during the COVID-19 pandemic, while Bihar has been awarded for its 'commendable initiative' to facilitate 'unprecedented' movement of more than 25 lakh migrants during the lockdown.
The Bihar government's initiative to facilitate movement of migrants was on Monday recognised at the national level by the Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry at the '13th Urban Mobility India Conference', a day before the results of state assembly results.
According to the ministry, apart from Bihar, Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority, Surat Municipal Corporation, Rajkot Municipal Corporation and Emakilam Jolla Autorickshaw Drivers Cooperative Society (Kochi) were awarded for commendable initiatives in urban transport during the pandemic.
'The transport department of Bihar deployed more than 7,000 buses on PPP (public-private-partnership) mode to facilitate unprecedented movement of migrants in excess of 25 lakh during COVID-19.
'An emergency response team was set up within 24 hours of lockdown facilitating real- time monitoring through transport management system,' the HUA ministry said in citation.
Union Housing and Urban Affairs Secretary Durga Shanker Mishra said that 'Award of Excellence' was given to Capital Region Urban Transport (CRUT), Bhubaneswar and Agartala Smart City Limited (ASCL), Tripura for innovation in urban transport during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Mishra said that CRUT addressed their social responsibility during the pandemic by bringing facilities to doorstep by converting bus stops into vegetable vending zones and providing 'Grocery on Wheels'.
Talking about ASCL's initiative, the secretary said that in order to prioritise pedestrianisation and cycling during the pandemic, it constructed 5 kilometers pedestrian walkway.
Rajkot, which was given 'Award of Commendable Initiative', implemented a smooth transition to technology driven ITMS system during COVID-19 for their city bus system while Surat operated buses as 'Dhanvantri Rath' (mobile medical teams), ambulances and mobile sample collection units. PTI BUN AAR AAR