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Sanjeev Kumar Patro

Bhubaneswar: When Odisha government is betting on public transport schemes aka the 'Mo Bus' to boost public transport, the stunning fact for the government is in the last decade (2010-11 - 2018-19) fleet of private cars vroomed by a massive 163 per cent.

The two-wheelers during the last decade have grown by a high of 157 per cent in the State. Even tractors, trailers & treckers (rural transport mode) have grown by 128 per cent. In contrast, buses grew by mere 49 per cent. But the taxis, fuelled by Uber & Ola, have posted 117 per cent growth.

Last fiscal year (2018-19), when private motorised vehicles like cars & 2-wheelers grew by around 13 per cent each, the taxis posted an 11 per cent spike; whereas buses grew by mere 8 per cent. These very numbers outline the changing dynamics in Odisha's transport arena.  

A report released by the State Road Safety Council on Wednesday brings to glare how a paradigm shift has taken place in State's transport sector during the last decade.

Now, look where the motorised vehicles have posted a record. It's not the Capital city of Odisha.

Rather, the vehicle density is highest in a backward district like Koraput. The vehicle population is higher than the district population of 13.76 lakh.

In fact, the registered vehicles fleet in Koraput by March end 2019 stood at State highest of 14.93 lakh. As a result, the vehicle density of Koraput stood at 3,036 per KM.

Cuttack district, which has 9.07 lakh registered vehicles till March end 2019, followed Koraput with a density value of 1,509 and with a value of 784 per KM Sundargarh is behind Cuttack.

The least vehicle density in Odisha has been reported from Deogarh, which figured among the top-10 backward districts in Odisha. The vehicle density value for the district is estimated at 23.

The report has many startling facts. An analysis shows when a poor district like Malkangiri has a vehicle to population proportion of 40 per cent, in contrast, developed districts like Cuttack and Sundargarh have a proportion of 34 per cent and 28 per cent, respectively.

Private motorised transport has grown by leaps and bounds in all districts of Odisha - be they are developed infrastructurally or not.

However, the exception districts are backward districts like Gajapati, Deogarh, Boudh and coastal district Kendrapada, where the vehicle density is below 100. And the State government's public transport concept like 'Mo Bus' is fervently needed in these districts.

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