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‘Charge congestion fee from private cars’

Private vehicle owners in Delhi may have to pay “congestion fee” if the government adheres to the Delhi High Court suggestion.

delhi Updated: Feb 11, 2010 00:15 IST
Harish V Nair

Private vehicle owners in Delhi may have to pay “congestion fee” if the government adheres to the Delhi High Court suggestion.

On Wednesday, the High Court asked the Delhi government to consider steps to restrict use of private vehicles to curb road congestion.

What has been proposed is a “stiff congestion fee” on the lines of London where it is levied on private cars entering certain parts of the city.

“The government has to consider all options, including imposing stringent restrictions on the use and movement of private cars in certain congested areas of the city,” said a Bench headed by Chief Justice A.P. Shah.

The task has been entrusted to a Special Task Force (STF) comprising officials from the Delhi government, police, Municipal Corporation of Delhi and Delhi Development Authority mandated to deal with problems of road traffic in Delhi.

The court gave the direction while pronouncing the judgment in a PIL challenging the 2006 ban on cycle rickshaws plying on arterial roads in the city.

The court asked the STF to review the ban and also removed the cap on issuance of licences.

The court said if the movement of heavy vehicles like trucks can be restricted and slow moving vehicles like cycle rickshaws and horse carts can be restricted, it can be made applicable to cars as well.

The court said while the freedom to use such personal vehicles and the aspirational value that they have for the people is undeniable, the government has an obligation to ensure that such use of public road, which will continue to choke traffic, and slow it down (sometimes even bringing everything to a standstill) has to be regulated.

“Road space cannot be appropriated or monopolised by one mode of transport, particularly when the bulk of the population depends on public transport,” the bench said asking authorities to augment the public transport system like buses and Metro.

Court on BRT

The court was of the view that though segregation of roads has been mandated by the Master Plan, if bus corridors are replicated in large scale, it would perhaps “cause hardship” and “generate controversy”.