In the morning yesterday (the 6th of February) I took the opportunity to run in the adjacent park. I got closely acquainted with the traffic, almost too closely; the left hand driving requires some extra attention. The morning air was fresh and cool with a freezing temperature of about 5 C, as compared to Bangalores 19 C. I should have brought long training trousers.
After the initial press conference we got the honour to have the excellencies, the Minsters of Environment of India, Namo Narain Meena and Sweden, Andreas Carlgren, visiting the exhibition and seminars.
The exhibition contained the new Volvo heavy duty hybrid, clean plants, sustainable fuels, Bus Rapid Transit and Volvo Cars progress. The ministers were guided by Inge Horkeby (AB Volvo) and Niclas Gustavsson (Volvo Cars).
At the seminar both ministers gave long and detailed speech on the future plans to meet both hazardous emissions and green house gases. A broad plan for, infrastructure, fuels and vehicles will be needed. India is facing a rapidly increasing urbanisation and is becoming one of the world’s largest emitters of green house gases. Several mega cities will grow further. The main challenge will be to maintain a rapid growth of economy and transports and simultaneously decrease hazardous emissions and green house gases, a tough challenge.
I focused my speach at the seminar on the recent improvement in emission technologies that is available for markets with low sulphur diesel. Once Euro IV or higher is available in India, the implementation of BRT systems will give both efficiency, low cost, and emission performance!
It seems that all agree to the technical arguments. But there is a general concern by many of the visitors, that the existing Delhi rule, saying only CNG buses, will force less cost efficient solutions.
The exhibition was decorated with some Volvo vehicles. We learned that 50% of Delhi person transports are made by bus already.
To summarise the visit in India: high level persons in India have pin pointed the critical environmental situation, not least the relationship to transports as a major issue. Last year the economical growth was over 8%.
To maintain the momentum, the transport problems need to be solved. Many look at China with envy. There the political leadership is said to have less political limitations and can thus proceed their future plans without hindrance. Construction enterprises push for large project, such as metro, that have little relevance for most people.
The political leadership now face challenges to solve the traffic: congestion, environment, safety and equity issues simultaneously. Can Volvo and buss operators play a more active role in promoting future combined solutions?