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HC asks Bihar government to act against pollution, traffic chaos in Patna

A division bench of Patna HC was hearing a public interest litigation filed by Public Interest Litigation Forum (PILF), an association of lawyers, through advocate Shashi Bhushan Kumar.

patna Updated: Mar 04, 2019 13:47 IST
Prashant Pratap
Prashant Pratap
Hindustan Times, Patna
patna HC,pollution in patna,Patna HC on pollution
Traffic jam during NDA’s Sankalp Rally at Gandhi Maidan in Patna, on Sunday March 03,2019.(Santosh Kumar / HT Photo )

To rescue Patna residents from traffic chaos and pollution, the Patna high court has directed the state authorities to come up with a road map.

A division bench of chief justice AP Sahi and justice Anjana Mishra observed that “unless a road map is carved out in order to arrest this march of pollution and heavy flow of traffic, the same would become unmanageable and as a matter of fact is presently in a chaotic condition”.

It was hearing a public interest litigation filed by Public Interest Litigation Forum (PILF), an association of lawyers, through advocate Shashi Bhushan Kumar.

The petitioners demanded a four-wheeler owner not be allowed to buy another vehicle, and that vehicles more than 15 years old be banned. The also sought the court direction to the authorities to stop movement goods vehicles from main roads during peak hours, halt picking of garbage by the Patna Municipal Corporation on main roads during peak hours, remove encroachment from footpath, provide adequate public transport and raze unauthorised structures. They believed that these measure would ease traffic.

The court, in its recent order, directed the chief secretary to meet and draw up plan on the issue.

“We call upon the chief secretary to instruct the principal secretary, transport, Bihar to convene a meeting of all responsible administration officials involved in the management of traffic to come up with a comprehensive plan to control vehicular traffic and also for providing additional modes of public transport and extension of public passages in a planned way so as to reduce the bottlenecks throughout the capital city of Patna to the municipal Limits thereof,” .

The matter is scheduled to be heard again on April 9.

The court further said, “The plan should include suggestions with regard to additional roads, parking places and stoppages for public transport systems as well as for private owned commercial vehicles so as to enable citizens to commute freely throughout the city.”

“This has to be viewed seriously as to whether the growing number of three-wheelers with their heavy pollutant emissions should be curtailed,” the judges said.

They also suggested to switch to cleaner energies such as CNG and electricity to power private and public transport.

The judges also highlighted the menace of unmanned rail crossings. Even if manned, these crossing would not reduce traffic congestion, observed the bench.

Earlier, the state had told the court that it was taking all measures to check pollution and traffic jam.

“The respondents are contending that they are taking action to their fullest capacity, but such problems are continuing given the ever increasing traffic in the city. Thus, not only the vehicular population but the population of the city itself has to be visualized for taking any appropriate action and for planning methods to avoid any traffic congestion. This also necessarily involves making provisions for public amenities including public transport systems to further facilitate commute so that traffic congestion is further avoided,” the court had said.

First Published: Mar 04, 2019 13:47 IST