The poll season has thrown a dampener on the high court-appointed committee's suggestion of hiking parking charges to decongest the city. Considering that the Assembly elections are due in November this year, all civic agencies are reluctant about adopting the hiked parking charges as suggested by the committee.
And yet land is a scare commodity. Already 11% of Delhi is being used for parking even as 1,400 new vehicles - of which 470 are cars - are added to the city's roads every day.
As per government estimates, over 75 lakh cars are running on the Capital's roads. "The speed of traffic on arterial roads has decreased significantly. Moreover, personal cars registered last year demanded parking space equivalent to the size of 310 football fields. In the years to come, valuable public land will be taken up for parking," said Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director, Centre for Science and Environment.
"The ongoing urban emissions.info study on speed busts the myth that cars are the best way to travel in Delhi and NCR. The pilot study in south Delhi, Noida, Greater Noida, Gurgaon and Dwarka found that cars crawled at 4 kmph for almost 24 minutes in two hours of driving and one million cars waste 2,00,000 litres of fuel for plying daily. The study also cautions against building new roads and flyovers," Roychowdhury said, adding that Delhi is so gridlocked and polluted considering when 48 per cent of the Capital's households do not own any vehicle.
When quizzed about the solutions to the mess, she said Delhi should follow the example set by other big cities such as Shanghai and Beijing.
But the municipal agencies feel otherwise. "We have written to the L-G. The order on hiking parking charges is not acceptable. Even when the municipal commissioner in his budget proposal had proposed the hike, we had not agreed," leader of the House in North Corporation Mahender Nagpal had said.
Standing committee chairman of the South Delhi Municipal Corporation Rajesh Gehlot said, "We are not implementing these revised parking rates. We have to think of the people who have elected us. We had promised them that we won't increase parking charges. We can't put additional burden on them."