A green tax should be slapped on families owning more than one car and those driving to congested central business district areas during peak hours should pay a surcharge, the Delhi Police have said.
In its suggestions to the national capital region planning board (NCRPB), the police said that people must prove they own dedicated parking space before they could buy a car. “Interest rates on car loans should be higher in case a particular family already owns a car,” the NCRPB has been informed.
The growing number of cars is one of Delhi’s biggest urban nightmares. It has also led to a host of other problems — traffic congestion, pollution, encroachments, no walking place and road rage. From 39.40 lakh vehicles in 2002-03, the number has risen to 77.74 lakh in 2012-13 — a 97% increase. As many as 1.6 lakh cars are registered every year in the city.
Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director at Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), welcomed the proposal. “It’s good to see the police making such proposals. They need to be supported. They’re directly dealing with the impact of mindless motorisation that needs to be restrained.”
The NCRPB is reviewing its regional plan-2021 that was notified in 2005. Regional plans indicate the manner in which land in the NCR is to be used and plans, including those for transportation, are to be executed. “We have received suggestions from the Delhi Police. Several other stakeholders are also sending their views to the draft regional plan-2021 that we have circulated. We would consider all well-meaning inputs,” said a senior NCRPB official.
The Delhi Police, in its letter, said the regional plan “is more focused on pull factors” to move more and more people to public transport but is silent on “push factors” through which use of personal cars — Delhi currently has 24.74 lakh four-wheelers — could be discouraged.
The draft plan says the road network has increased from 28,508 km in 2000 to 29,030 km in 2008, while the number of vehicles has doubled from 33.7 lakh in 2000 to 63 lakh in 2008. This has resulted both in heavy traffic congestion and reduction in vehicular speed, it says.
“Pricing can help reduce car usage by 10-30%. But pricing should fund and go along with scaling up of public transport. It’s a productive cycle. Parking demand in Connaught Place went down by 10% ever since Metro came in the area,” said Roychowdhury.