Court moots congestion tax for Delhi

 
By Priyanka Chandola
Published: Saturday 04 July 2015

imageIn future, car owners in Delhi may have to shell out money for passing through congested areas of the city. This follows a judgement of the Delhi High Court directing the city authorities to consider all options to clear road congestion. This may include deterrent measures like levying congestion fees on private cars passing through crowded areas.

“Delhi will not be unique if such measures are actively pursued and implemented,” the three-judge bench said while referring to London. The orders were passed on petitions filed by two non-profits—Manushi and Initiative for Transportation and Development Policy—that opposed the cap on the number of cycle rickshaws plying in Delhi. The court declined to cap the number of rickshaws in the city.

Cars drive out buses

6,000,000: total registered vehicles in Delhi
1,087: vehicles are added each day
1,021: vehicles added each day are personal ones
20%: city households own cars; they are buying more than one car
19%: drop in public transport ridership (from 60% to 41%) between 2001 and 2008

The court also directed the Delhi government, Delhi Police and civic authorities to constitute a special task force comprising traffic experts, urban planners and traffic police to recommend ways to minimize road congestion and ensure equitable access to all classes of vehicles including cycles and rickshaws.

P K Sarkar of the School of Planning and Architecture said private vehicles in Delhi are growing at the rate of over eight per cent annually (see box).

"Without such measures, traffic growth cannot be curtailed," he said while adding studies are needed.

If the traffic in an area is more than 50 per cent; only then congestion charge should be levied, he said.

Former commissioner of planning in Delhi Development Authority, A K Jain, said it is not practical to implement deterrent measures without first putting in place an efficient public transport system.

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