The Delhi government may not be able to dilly dally on the imposition of congestion tax to prevent private vehicles from entering congested areas, especially during peak hours.
Keeping the London and Singapore model in mind, the Central government has asked the state governments to introduce congestion pricing in central business areas and congested parts of cities.
Most of these areas are congested due to the rising use of private vehicles and are bursting at their seams from parking lots and choc-a-bloc roads.
On an average, 1,400 new vehicles are registered in the city every day, which includes 465 cars and 825 two-wheelers.
The urban development ministry has sent a letter to the chief secretaries of all Indian states, including Delhi, to identify the most congested areas in its cities and get a proper study done to “consider adopting congestion charging system as a measure to decongest the central business districts”.
Congestion price means charging every vehicle a fixed price to allow it to enter a particular business district or road.
The UD ministry has also asked the state governments to explore electronic options such as online payment, SMS payment and prepaid system.
“Charge a price to allocate a scarce resource for its most valuable use,” the letter sent by UD secretary Sudhir Krishna read. Krishna, however, emphasised on strengthening the public transport system as a precedent to introduction of congestion pricing.
This is not the first time “congestion pricing” has been suggested to discourage people from using their private vehicles.
The government has been talking about the introduction of a similar tax for several years now. Sources, however, said “political compulsions” have prevented the government from doing so.