Delhi loses Rs 1000-cr each year to fuel at traffic lights

Those grueling traffic jams on Delhi's congested roads during peak hour do not just take a toll on your patience. They cost much more — in terms of precious fuel and money, reports Vikas Pathak.
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Updated on Feb 26, 2009 11:55 PM IST
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Hindustan Times | ByVikas Pathak, New Delhi

Those grueling traffic jams on Delhi's congested roads during peak hour do not just take a toll on your patience. They cost much more — in terms of precious fuel and money.

Union Minister of State for Urban Development Ajay Maken told the Rajya Sabha on Thursday that Delhi loses about Rs 1000-crore worth of fuel at traffic intersections each year, because motorists keep the ignition on at red lights. This comes to Rs. 272-lakh each day. The minister was quoting a study conducted by the Petroleum Conservation Research Institute.

As the poverty line in Delhi is classified at roughly Rs 20 per day, the money value of this loss of fuel is as high as what 14 lakh people at the upper end of the poverty line for Delhi would spend on food in a day. Many among the below poverty line (BPL) people in Delhi may actually be living below Rs 20 per day. About 8 per cent of Delhi's population is below poverty line.

Furthermore, this daily fuel loss in Delhi is 27 lakh times the money value of the daily earning of a village dweller at the top of the poverty line at the all-India level.

So, is switching off the ignition at red lights the answer? JNU professor Amitabh Kundu disagrees. “People are concerned about the life of the battery if they keep switching on and off. They also fear the rage of motorists behind them in case the car does not start. The only way out is to have a good mass transport system that leads to less congestion and less fuel loss,” he told HT.

Delhi has 8.6 lakh registered cars and jeeps, more than the added figure for Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai. At about 56 lakhs, Delhi has as many motor vehicles now as its population in 1981.

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