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Sunday, Aug 25, 2019

Delhi stuck in a jam as plans to decongest city remain on paper

In May 2017, lieutenant governor Anil Baijal had commissioned a project where 77 busiest stretches in Delhi were identified by the traffic police and had to be decongested by the Delhi government’s Public Works Department (PWD) and the civic agencies.

delhi Updated: Jan 07, 2019 14:38 IST
Sweta Goswami
Sweta Goswami
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Once implemented, the city’s one-of-a kind policy is going to make the existing practice of ‘free parking’ in residential areas as well public spaces will be a thing of the past.
Once implemented, the city’s one-of-a kind policy is going to make the existing practice of ‘free parking’ in residential areas as well public spaces will be a thing of the past.(Amal KS / HT File )
         

As the Centre and the Delhi government work to restrict the number of vehicles being registered in the city, several projects that were announced to decongest the city since 2017 are progressing at a snail’s pace.

In May 2017, lieutenant governor Anil Baijal had commissioned a project where 77 busiest stretches in Delhi were identified by the traffic police and had to be decongested by the Delhi government’s Public Works Department (PWD) and the civic agencies. But more than a year later, even the first phase of the project has not been completed.

The first phase included decongesting five pilot corridors which was later extended to 11. These stretches include Aurobindo Marg (Aurobindo Marg to Andheria More), Mathura Road (Neela Gumbad to Badarpur Flyover), Savitri Flyover (Chirag Delhi crossing to Savitri Flyover), Dhaula Kuan (Dhaula Kuan Flyover to GGR Flyover, Sanjay T-Point), Sardar Patel Marg, Mehrauli Badarpur Road (Lado Sarai red light to Pul Prahladpur underpass) and New Rohtak Road (Idgah Crossing to Kamal T-Point).

“Work is in progress. It takes time because everything from road geometric improvements to construction of foot overbridges are being carried out. In many cases boundary walls are being extended, roads are being widened and pedestrian pathways are being built,” a PWD official said, on condition of anonymity.

Experts said that apart from facilitating more vehicular movement, the government must also focus on integrating public transport with para-transit modes. “The Metro is there and new buses will also be added soon. But, there needs to be a push for people to leave their private vehicles and use public transport. For this, ensuring a reliable bus and last-mile system is the key,” said Sanjay Gupta, head (transport and planning), School Planning and Architecture (SPA).

To bring out a long-term solution to the city’s traffic problem, which also adds to the air pollution, the ‘high powered committee on traffic management in Delhi’, in its first meeting held on October 9, 2018, had asked the Delhi government to expedite implementation of the parking policy. The policy remains stuck with the Delhi government.

The committee also suggested that improvements need to be carried out at busy market hubs such as Connaught Place, Karol Bagh and Lajpat Nagar. The traffic police said it has prepared a detailed plan for the three markets and work on it will be completed in less than a year.

Despite the file getting all necessary clearances from transport minister Kailash Gahlot and other departments, the transport department is still unable to notify the ‘Delhi Maintenance and Management of Parking Rules, 2017’ because of a “confusion”.

“The minister has clearly stated that the file does not need to go to the L-G and should be notified immediately. But, the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 states the competent authority is the L-G. So invariably, all files related to transport always have been going to the L-G as well. The file at present remains with the minister,” said an official on condition of anonymity.

Once implemented, the one-of-a kind policy is going to make the existing practice of ‘free parking’ in residential areas as well public spaces a thing of the past. The rules state that parking rates will be linked to pollution levels. “The multiples shall be doubled in case of severe + or emergency levels of ambient air quality under the Graded Responses Action Plan notified by the Centre,” the document read.

First Published: Jan 07, 2019 14:37 IST

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