It is said that for every car sold, the city is committing to provide three parking places — one at the owner’s residence, one at his workplace and one at the places where he may visit. While nearly a crore vehicles ply on city roads, almost 1,300 new ones are added on a daily basis reducing our average speed to 22 kilometre per hour (kmph) from 40 kmph in just a span of six years.
A report by the Centre of Science and Environment (CSE) says that if all vehicles are brought together in Delhi, then the city will need parking space equivalent to nearly 310 football fields. The study also states that nearly 10% of the total urban land in Delhi is under parking — that too for cars that remain stationed at one place nearly 90% of the time and help meet only 14% of Delhi’s travel needs.
“At a time when traffic congestion is so bad, the Centre’s plan offers some respite,” said Bhure Lal, chairperson, Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA).
He said the move will deter new vehicles, however, encroachment on roads is something which needs to be addressed immediately.
“Clearing vehicles illegally parked on the roads should be the first priority as that is the easiest thing to do. It does not even need any change in legislation, only enforcement is required,” Lal added.
Like Lal, other experts wondered how effectively the proposed rule could be implemented. They have even suggested increasing parking rates and penalties as an immediate step, but it continues to be on paper.
Sunita Narain, CSE director, said, “This kind of norm already exists in Sikkim. But, implementation is going to be an issue as the government or the civic agencies do not have the manpower to verify the information provided by the car owner.”
Also, a majority of cars are not even registered in the city as they come from neighbouring states. The decision would, however, help in curbing parking issues at upcoming residential areas and planned societies which currently are mapped mostly in outer Delhi.
Officials of the transport department welcomed the move but said it could lead to an increase in the number of old vehicles in the city. “Over 50% of the 25 lakh private motor vehicles in Delhi are more than 10 years old. Once the rule comes into force, people wouldn’t shift to new cars, unless replacement of old vehicles is exempted,” a government official said.
Despite the Municipal Corporation of Delhi making it mandatory for people to obtain ‘completion certificates’ after constructing a house, many never return to take the certificate. “The prime reason is that they misuse the stilt car parking space constructed at ground floor for personal use. It is important to penalise such people,” said a senior North Corporation official.
Many questioned how the rule would be enforced in an unplanned city such as Delhi. “What about 80% of Delhi which has been built in an unorganised manner? It includes unauthorised colonies, residential areas with no provision for stilt parking and flats with limited car parking space,” said a senior South Corporation official.