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Reconsider decision on hiking parking fees: NGT to govt

“The hike in parking fees will only benefit the contractors and will stress people by encouraging them to park vehicles on the roadside instead,” the NGT said.

delhi Updated: Nov 12, 2017 00:48 IST
Joydeep Thakur
Joydeep Thakur
Hindustan Times
delhi,delhi news,odd eve
“The hike in parking fees will only benefit the contractors and will stress people by encouraging them to park vehicles on the roadside instead,” the NGT said.(Hindustan Times)

The National Green Tribunal on Saturday gave a conditional nod to the Delhi government’s odd-even road rationing scheme but directed the state administration to reconsider its decision on hiking parking fees.

A bench headed by the NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar, which held a special hearing on a holiday, said, “The hike in parking fees will only benefit the contractors and will stress people by encouraging them to park vehicles on the roadside instead.”

Delhi’s civic agencies, Metro and Delhi Development Authority, had hiked the parking fees by four times from Thursday following the order of Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal to combat the high-level of pollution in the city. The hike was a part of the Graded Action Response Plan enforced by Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority, a Supreme Court-appointed panel.

“The extra money collected will not come to the government for sure. You are only filling the pockets of the contractors through the order,” it said, after being informed by advocates that contractors are collecting enhanced parking fees against old slips that mentioned old rates.

The state government was directed to introduce the vehicle rationing measure “without any default” in future whenever the levels of particulate matter breached the emergency levels.

The NGT bench also criticised the government’s decision to exempt some categories of people from the odd-even scheme, terming it as “absurd”.

“Why didn’t you introduce odd-even earlier when air quality was worse?” the bench asked.

“We know you are looking for a shelter. But we will not give it. You have taken a call. Please go ahead with it,” a bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar told the government’s counsel who asked the bench whether it should go ahead with the scheme despite improving pollution levels.

Stating that two wheelers are among the worst polluters, the two judge bench said: “There shall be no exemption to any person, officer and individual and two wheelers from the ambit of odd-even scheme.”

The direction came after scientists from the Central Pollution Control Board informed the bench that two-wheelers were more polluting than other vehicles, and emissions from motorbikes accounted for nearly 30 per cent of the total vehicular pollution.

Citing heavy traffic snarls at most of the entry points of the city where cars are being held up for hours, the bench directed the police to deploy adequate forces to ease the flow of traffic. The bench said that the traffic jams were being primarily triggered by trucks which are not being allowed to enter the city.

The NGT also issued a show cause notice to the National Highway Authority of India and construction major NBCC for allegedly violating the ban on construction rule.

To control pollution levels the bench issued a slew of directions including sprinkling of water to control dust, forming special teams by civic bodies to check fires in dumping yards and strict implementation of ban on construction activities, among others.

End’’

First Published: Nov 12, 2017 00:47 IST