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Thursday, Nov 14, 2019

MPs seek solution to traffic woes, snatching menace in New Delhi

The members of the panel, led by Anand Sharma, quizzed the police, municipal bodies and Union ministries on their plans to improve Delhi’s messy traffic

india Updated: Oct 14, 2019 13:08 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Congress leader Anand Sharma pointed out that traffic woes in Delhi were an ongoing problem and it was not the first time the parliamentary panel took up the subject.
Congress leader Anand Sharma pointed out that traffic woes in Delhi were an ongoing problem and it was not the first time the parliamentary panel took up the subject. (Mohd Zakir/HT PHOTO)
         

The deteriorating traffic situation in the national capital prompted Parliament’s standing committee on home affairs to discuss the situation with Delhi police and other agencies last week, in which lawmakers emphasised on a coordinated approach to ease bottlenecks, a release from the Rajya Sabha secretariat said on Sunday.

The members of the panel, led by Anand Sharma, quizzed the police, municipal bodies and Union ministries on their plans to improve Delhi’s messy traffic while underlining the need to create more parking space and removing encroachment from roads.

An Opposition MP said the menace of motorbike-borne snatchers was also flagged.

“The Delhi Police should inform the panel how many such snatching cases have been resolved and how many criminals have been sent behind bars,” said the MP.

In May, the Delhi Traffic Police declared that Delhi’s roads were saturated with traffic and carrying vehicular load beyond their capacity. In an affidavit to the high court, the Delhi Police had underlined that “the traffic volume plying on both the Outer Ring Road and Guru Ravi Dass Marg is already oversaturated and beyond the designed carrying capacity of these roads”.

The Delhi Economic Survey (2017-18) said the city has 556 vehicles per thousand people, with every second person in the city owning at least one vehicle.

“On October 11, the Committee held discussion on the Management of Worsening Traffic Situation in Delhi. The meeting was attended by senior officers of Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Commissioner of Delhi Police along with other senior officers of Delhi Police,” the release issued by the Rajya Sabha secretariat said.

Representatives of the DDA, the DMRC, the NCR Planning Board and all the three municipal corporations of Delhi and those of the state governments of UP, Haryana and Rajasthan were present.

At least two lawmakers pointed out that traffic woes in Delhi were an ongoing problem and it was not the first time the parliamentary panel took up the subject.

“During the period of the last Lok Sabha, we had suggested to the Delhi Police that they should give us a report on the traffic situation and the proposed plans to decongest Delhi,” said a member of the panel.

Some senior members felt there was a clear absence of a coordinated approach among various agencies involved in the Delhi’s development and management to tackle traffic issues. Some MPs also wanted to know how roads and pavements were being rapidly encroached by vendors and illegal constructions, creating further trouble for the smooth flow of vehicles.

“Some of us wanted to know which agency gives these vendors permission to use roads or pavements? We pointed out that encroachment has become a major problem in Delhi and sought remedial measures from the cops and the municipal authorities,” said another MP.

Sharma is likely to call another meeting to continue the discussions on Delhi’s traffic situation.

Citizens’ bodies have often alleged that the main roads are already exhausted and how residential roads are being taken over by construction projects.

Other stretches where roads are saturated, according to the traffic police, are the Uttam Nagar junction, South Extension (Ring Road), Kalkaji (Outer Ring Road), Moti Bagh (below the Ring Road flyover), extending up to Rao Tula Ram Marg flyover on the Outer Ring Road.

Senior traffic officials said the problem of roads exhausted beyond their carrying capacity is not specific to these pockets. The increasing number of vehicles and new projects are likely to make things worse in the coming years.

Experts agree that the vehicular boom and development have been slowing down the city over the last decade.

Subhash Chand, head of the traffic engineering and safety division, Central Road Research Institute (CRRI), said development without traffic plans was a big worry. “Around 10 years ago, Delhi’s average speed was around 40kmph even during peak traffic hours. But now the average speed had gone down to 20kmph,” Chand said.