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Wednesday, Oct 16, 2019

Supreme Court’s parking directive sparks panic among vendors, Delhi CM assuages fears

Government officials, on condition of anonymity, said that since the SC’s latest direction did not get into the nitty-gritty of residential parking, it would be easier for the department to notify the Parking Rules.

delhi Updated: Sep 04, 2019 06:44 IST
Sweta Goswami
Sweta Goswami
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Cars parked in a residential parking area at C-block in Lajpat Nagar-2, New Delhi on Tuesday.
Cars parked in a residential parking area at C-block in Lajpat Nagar-2, New Delhi on Tuesday. (HT File Photo )
         

The state transport department on Tuesday swung into action after the Supreme Court directed the city administration to notify the ‘Delhi Maintenance and Management of Parking Places Rules, 2019’ by the end of this month. The department has started compiling suggestions and objections received from stakeholders on the parking policy—which has been stuck for more than two years.

The SC had also ordered civic agencies to ensure that residential areas are clear of all encroachments. This had led to panic among street vendors, who met chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. Later, Kejriwal tweeted, “Delhi government will keep in mind SC judgment and livelihood of lakhs of street vendors and find a solution. If needed, the government will approach the court.”

However, the National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI) issued a statement on Tuesday clarifying that there is no need for hawkers to panic as the SC directive to remove encroachments was specifically for residential areas and not arterial roads. “The petition restricts itself to the issue of parking in residential areas. Directions issued by the court instruct encroachers to vacate pavements for pedestrians,” Arbind Sagar, national co-ordinator, NASVI, said.

The parking policy was first mooted in 2016 and the final draft was readied by January 2018. Since then, it has been back and forth among various departments. First, for more than a year since 2018, the file kept moving between the law department, transport department and the transport minister’s office over a disagreement on whether the policy should be notified in the name of the minister or the Lieutenant Governor. Later, transport minister Kailash Gahlot, after receiving complaints from a section of residents, sought the removal of a clause from the policy, which proposed levying a parking fee in residential areas as well.

Government officials, on condition of anonymity, said that since the SC’s latest direction did not get into the nitty-gritty of residential parking, it would be easier for the department to notify the Parking Rules. “Notifying the rules will not be a problem as we had already amended policy public in June this year. The revised draft does not have the clause of levying a parking fee in residential colonies,” an official said.

An expert member of a high-powered committee said it would take at least four months to see impact of the policy, even after it is notified. “It is a misconception that parking fee will be increased as soon as the rules are notified. Once the notification is done, the minimum parking rates across Delhi will be fixed by a base parking fee (BPF) committee. Simultaneously, civic agencies will have to make fresh area parking plans,” the member said.

The BPF committee will be headed by the transport minister and the fee will be revised by the civic agency every year. The rates for surface and off-site parking lots will be decided in multiples of the BPF, the rules state.

The rules also state that parking rates will be linked to pollution level. “The multiples shall be doubled in case of severe+ or emergency levels of ambient air quality under Graded Responses Action Plan notified by the Centre,” the document read.

The charges for on-street parking for the first hour would be priced at least twice than that of off-street parking. Besides, towing charges for violation of no-parking zones or overstay in authorised parking zones would range from ₹200 to ₹2,000, depending on the type of vehicle.

First Published: Sep 04, 2019 06:44 IST

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