Delhi parking policy: Experts back changes but residents question ‘harsh’ steps
The draft Parking Policy for Delhi has raised concerns among a section of residents in the Capital even as experts maintain that such “harsh steps” are necessary for public good.
Residents’ welfare associations (RWAs) HT spoke to questioned the policy’s rationale behind charging them for every car parked in residential areas. They collectively demanded that every household must be allowed free parking for at least one car.
“Why to charge for parking a car in front of one’s own house? At least one car must be allowed free of cost as one buys a vehicle for own use after paying a lot of taxes,” said BS Vohra of East Delhi RWAs Joint Front.
Other raised issues over the ‘one-time charge’ that every person has to pay for ‘night parking’ while getting a new vehicle registered. They complained that the MCD promised to augment parking lots with the revenue collected from this charge, but no concrete action was taken.
“We are already being charged a decent amount as one-time parking fee. On top of that, if they want to charge extra as road tax and increase parking fees then the MCD must tell us what it has done so far to improve parking lots,” said Pankaj Aggarwal, general secretary of Delhi RWAs Joint Front.
Calling it a “misnomer”, Bhure Lal chairperson of the Supreme Court appointed Environment Pollution (Prevention & Control) Authority (EPCA) said that the one-time parking fee is a “meagre amount”. “The fee is Rs 2,000 for a lifetime which is awfully less for a car that not only causes so much traffic but also pollutes the air,” he said.
“The people themselves are the violators and the sufferers. Why do they then convert garages into rooms and shops?” he questioned.
Traders fear if the policy is implemented they would be worst hit. “We were charged a hefty ‘one-time parking fee’ after being told that parking facilities near commercial areas will be developed. Yet people have to park cars on roadsides,” said Sanjay Bhargava, a trader in Chandni Chowk.
However, MCD officials claim that they are constructing parking lots wherever land is available. “It is not true that we have not done anything. Whatever space we got we have developed them for parking like we did near 40 Metro stations,” said an official of the South Delhi Municipal Corporation.
The Parking Policy for Delhi proposes to charge more for daytime parking in residential areas and for peak hours in commercial areas. Besides, to discourage people from buying multiple cars, it says road tax would be increased on an incremental basis for those who buy more than one car.
“Around 2012, the Sheila Dikshit government had announced it would levy parking charges in residential areas. But that never happened. So it has to be seen what happens to this policy,” added Aggarwal.
Vohra suggested that the government must instead restrict the number of vehicles in a manner that one can buy a new vehicle only on surrendering the old one.