Though the common man may be worried about the impact of the proposed three-fold hike in parking charges and the introduction of congestion charges by the MCD, environmentalists and traffic and transport experts have welcomed the move saying it will promote the usage of public transport.
The Supreme Court established Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) and the NGO Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) have said that by increasing parking charges, which at present are very low, the MCD will also control traffic chaos. The revenue generated can be used to build infrastructure.
On Wednesday the municipal commissioner KS Mehra in his budget for 2012-2013 had proposed a three-fold hike in parking charges. In the name of decongesting several parts of the city, the Mehra also proposed a new tax named the ‘congestion tax’ for those using stretches of central and old Delhi between 8am and 9pm.
According to Bhurelal, chairman of the EPCA, congestion charges will discourage people from bringing in their cars and so should be applied in other areas as well.
“New markets have opened up at Rohini, Pitampura and Janakpuri, leading to congestion in these areas. Congestion charges should therefore not be restricted just to Old Delhi but should be levied in other areas where there is congestion,” he said.
Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director, CSE, said that at present parking rates are abysmally low where MCD charges R1 per hour. “Solutions do not lie in capturing more valuable urban land for car parks but in shifting to other modes and releasing the space for other important uses,” she said. She added that health hazards caused by pollution will also be reduced as a result of such taxes.
PK Sarkar, a professor at School of Planning and Architecture, who has been researching and promoting the imposition of congestion charges for the last five years, welcomed the move and said, “The imposition of such taxes in other countries like London and has seen massive decrease in the congestion and it should work in Delhi as well.”