The Delhi High Court on Wednesday questioned the Delhi government on the steps taken for earmarking exclusive lanes for non-motorised modes of transport, including cycle-rickshaws.
A division bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Manmohan directed the government to submit a report within four weeks on what was being done on a pilot project for reserving road space for non-motorised modes of transport.
The court direction came on a petition filed by NGO Manushi which informed the court that the government had failed to comply with its Feb 10 direction to ensure “equitable access to all classes of vehicles, including non-motorised transport such as bicycles and cycle-rickshaws”.
The court had also said the Delhi government, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), the Delhi Development Authority and the Delhi Police “shall constitute a special task force to explore all questions pertaining to traffic".
Nazmi Waziri, appearing for the government, informed the court that the task force is already in place and is headed by the chief secretary.
He said the task force is in the process of implementing all the court's directions. The pilot projects were to start at three stretches: Ambedkar Nagar-Delhi Gate, Vikas Marg-Karkardooma and on Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Marg.
Prashant Bhushan, counsel for the NGO, raised objections and said the civic agencies and traffic police were not complying with court orders and were delaying the matter.
He also informed the court that rickshaw pullers are still being harassed and traffic police have been imposing a fine of Rs 1,000 on them as against a fine of Rs.50 as provided in law.
As per its own admission in the high court, the MCD confiscates around 60,000 cycle-rickshaws every year.
For every cycle-rickshaw that is entered into municipal records as a confiscated, at least 10 are released through pay-offs demanded from rickshaw owners, Bhushan said.
“An unlicensed cycle-rickshaw once shown in official records as confiscated cannot be released even after paying fines. It has to be destroyed. Licensed cycle-rickshaws are confiscated on grounds that the owner is not the puller," informed Bhushan.
Recently, the Supreme Court slammed the MCD's policy to decongest city traffic by limiting the number of cycle-rickshaws to 99,000.