Increasing number of vehicles and shrinking parking space has been a headache for commuters in Delhi. But, a tussle between two major agencies—Delhi Traffic Police and Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD)—is resulting in "unnecessary" challans of motorists for obstructive/unauthorised parking.
The Environmental Pollution (Prevention) and Control Authority (EPCA) has been focussing on reducing parking spaces to prompt people to take to public transport. Keeping this in mind, Delhi Traffic Police claimed they physically verified the places where the MCD intended to set up or continue parking lots last year and only then recommended yes or no.
"What action does traffic police take if MCD allots parking despite traffic police refusing to grant a no-objection certificate (NOC)," asked Anil Sood, President of Chetna, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), under the right to information (RTI). The traffic police replied in September 2008, "Action against improper/obstructive parking is taken in such cases. During the current year up to 31.08.2008, Delhi Traffic Police has prosecuted 2,16,186 vehicles for obstructive parking."
Sood was also given a list of 39 parking lots for which the traffic police refused to give NOC. "Once the parking is operating illegally, in most cases the contractor does not display the sign board at entry and exit points. How does a
driver know then the parking is illegal?," Sood told HT.
Seeking to differentiate between "unauthorised" and "illegal" parking lots, Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic) S.N. Shrivastava said, "Roads need to be free for vehicles. We remove unauthorised parking (only) on the roads and pavements/footpaths."
For those parking spots away from the road, Shrivastava said, "We only recommend to MCD to close down a certain parking. The onus is on the land-owning agency to see the area is cordoned and no parking runs on it."
But MCD seems unfazed by this expectation. Said MCD Director (PR) Deep Mathur, "It is the basic responsibility of the traffic police to ensure illegal parkings are not run anywhere. The EPCA also confirms that it is the traffic police, which should ensure such things and we are ready to cooperate in any manner."
It seems due to lack of communication and/or clear identification of functions, both the agencies are passing the buck. Sood asks, "Why should the common citizen suffer?"