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Wednesday, Sep 18, 2019

Owners of multiple cars should pay more: EPCA

Among the other proposals under the Delhi Maintenance and Management of Parking Rules, 2017, are customised parking management plans for each neighbourhood and making green spaces, parks and footpaths out of bounds for parking.

india Updated: Mar 30, 2019 09:16 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
New Delhi
The Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) has recommended the introduction of differential and higher rates for parking additional cars in residential areas (Photo by Parveen Kumar/Hindustan Times)
The Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) has recommended the introduction of differential and higher rates for parking additional cars in residential areas (Photo by Parveen Kumar/Hindustan Times)
         

If you own more than one car, you may have to pay more for parking the extra vehicles near your house once proposed new rules take effect in the national capital, which already has 3.5 million cars plying on its roads and is adding an average 500 more daily.

The Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) has recommended the introduction of differential and higher rates for parking additional cars in residential areas, citing examples of some Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs) that have already introduced such measures.

Among the other proposals under the Delhi Maintenance and Management of Parking Rules, 2017, are customised parking management plans for each neighbourhood and making green spaces, parks and footpaths out of bounds for parking.

“The pricing for residential parking should be determined jointly by the local agency, RWA, shopkeepers association but it must be based on the principle of charging differential and higher rates for additional cars,” said a report EPCA submitted to the Supreme Court.

The Delhi government in February opposed an EPCA recommendation to introduce pricing for residential parking. In its latest report, EPCA said the national capital was paying a high price for allowing free parking and that the government should be directed to notify the proposed new rules. Civic bodies and the Delhi Traffic Police have supported EPCA.

“The crisis of unsustainable parking pressure in residential neighbourhoods has created serious law and order problem, local congestion and toxic exposure and erosion of well being and liveability. It is important to address management of parking in residential areas,” the report said.

Under clause 11(2) of the proposed policy, parking is possible only in demarcated public spaces in residential areas against the payment of a fee — even for the first car. The government suggested that people shouldn’t be charged for parking in residential areas.

The Delhi government said it wouldn’t change its stand on residential parking.

Transport minister Kailash Gahlot said the government had already made its stand clear that until more parking space is created by the municipal bodies, people staying in residential neighbourhoods cannot be forced to pay.

“In the past 5-7 years, Delhi government has collected thousands of crores of rupees on behalf of the MCDs {Municipal Corporations of Delhi}. The MCDs were supposed to build new parking lots. How many of these have even been built by the municipal corporations? We had directed the transport department to notify the policy, but now the matter is being monitored by the Supreme Court. We will make our stand clear to the court as well,” he said.

EPCA opposed the government’s suggestion on grounds that free parking in residential areas would make the policy “toothless” and “defeat the very purpose” of the proposed rules. After meeting with civic bodies and the police, EPCA suggested differential and higher parking rates for additional cars owned by residents, and a customised parking management plan for each neighbourhood.

“Each locality and colony should have it own parking management plan based on its local needs and character. Multiplicity of responsibility is one of the core problems of governance in the city and parking regulations must not add to this,” said Sunita Narain, a member of EPCA.

EPCA’s review has shown that because of lack of an integrated management approach and availability of free parking in surface areas, parking facilities such as multi-level car parks that are being built are not being used optimally and free parking in the vicinity is adding to problems.

“The local parking plan must ensure that there is provision for movement of emergency vehicles and green areas, parks and footpaths may not be allowed to be used for parking,” one of the recommendations said.

Ashutosh Dikshit, CEO of United RWAs Joint Action (URJA), an umbrella group of RWAs, agreed on the need for customised parking solutions and differential parking charges. “Having a local area plan has been a longstanding demand of URJA. But the roles of each stake holder — civic bodies and RWAs — should be clearly defined,” he said.

EPCA also requested the court to direct Delhi Police to greatly improve enforcement against illegal and unauthorised parking through use of advanced equipment, including cameras and automated challans.

“Even while the policy must be directed to manage the existing parking demand in an organised and a planned manner it is also important to find ways to reduce demand for parking through restrictions and pricing,” said Anumita Roy Chowdhury, executive director (research and advocacy) at the Centre for Science and Environment.

First Published: Mar 30, 2019 05:29 IST