The Delhi Government is determined to reduce the number of cars on the roads, it told the High Court. It also made it clear that the government stood by BRT projects aimed at encouraging more people to use public transport and give up private vehicles.
In its affidavit, the government has also accused car users of having an “elitist bias” and being “anti-poor” by opposing the BRT corridor between Moolchand and Ambedkar Nagar.
“Delhi Government has understood the value of seeking out alternatives to cars and has recognised buses as the best option. CRRI ignored the fact that congestion will only get worse by 2021 as car ridership will jump by 106 percent if BRT is not implemented,” the affidavit filed in the court said."BRT projects have been sanctioned for the entire country. One wrong step in Delhi may jeopardise the entire policy. Anger and arrogance of car (users) may not be permitted to wipe out the fragile protection of the common good. The politics of minority ought not to ignore the interests of the majority," the affidavit said "CRRI (Central Road Research Institute) has accorded value of time on the basis of income. Aren’t the poor who travel by bus not entitled to travel fast? BRT is being opposed as carwallahs are not able to travel faster than buses," senior lawyer KTS Tulsi, who appeared for the government, told the court hearing a PIL demanding the scrapping of BRT.
Tulsi said, “The report is full of contradictions. It, in fact, goes on to support the existence of BRT by its conclusion that 70 per cent of its users were moving faster and there was 32 per cent rise in bus ridership.”
The affidavit extensively quoted from a blog written by Anumita Roychowdhury, Executive Director at Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) on the CRRI report to bolster its argument. “In her opinion, car users on BRT are terribly upset as they cannot tolerate increased journey time, fuel loss and inconvenience,” it said “The author believes there is a shocking elitist bias amongst car passengers and the belief that they have higher value of time than those in buses,” the affidavit quoted her as saying.
Bhushan ‘trashes’ CRRI report
Lawyer Prashant Bhushan, who appeared for bus users and supported the BRT, shocked a large number of CRRI scientists present in the court by thrice terming their 200-page report as “trash which deserved to be thrown into a waste basket”.
Acting chief justice AK Sikri tried to pacify them, saying “Do not get disheartened. These things happen in a court”. One scientist replied: “We will give a fitting reply to him in the next hearing.” - HTC