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Chandigarh’s new draft parking policy seeking 50% road tax invites criticism from all

‘Impractical’: Residents and politicians dismiss proposal that seeks 50% road tax on high-end cars, say will do nothing to overcome traffic congestion

punjab Updated: Nov 27, 2017 20:07 IST
Hillary Victor 
Hillary Victor 
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Chandigarh,draft parking policy,road tax
Chandigarh has the highest density of vehicles in the country, the average number for each family being more than two. Objections to the policy have been invited within 15 days.(HT File Photo)

When it comes to out of the box ideas for decongesting city roads, the UT administration’s track record is not too encouraging. This time, it has come up with a new draft parking policy that will hike the road tax for buyers of high-end cars. But will this policy will see the light of day?

Projects that never took off
  • UNDERPASSES: In 2007, the UT administration spent Rs 10 lakh on a tour of three officers to Belgium and France to understand the concept, construction and maintenance of underpasses. But in March 2016, the project was scrapped, claiming that it will be a hindrance to the Metro project. The underpasses were planned at Sector-17 ISBT, Tribune Chowk, UT Press Chowk, Transport Chowk, Piccadilly Chowk, Kisan Bhawan, Matka Chowk and Cricket Stadium Chowk in Sector 16. The MC even allocated ₹25 crore for the project in its 2016-17 budget.
  • METRO: In July, Union home minister Rajnath Singh put brakes on the much touted project and asked officers to look for an alternative. A senior officer of the urban development ministry explained that the metro was not viable keeping in view the size of the city. Though the work on the first phase was scheduled to start in 2013, the cost of the project escalated due to a delay. According to a revised report prepared by Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, the Chandigarh’s share was ₹5,000 crore. The report also stated that the project will not be commercially viable till 2051 due to poor peak-hour peak-direction traffic (PHPDT).
  • ENTRY TAX: In March, the MC approved entry tax on all commercial vehicles entering the city from other states. This was planned to overcome financial crunch and decongestion. The tax, ranging between Rs 100 and Rs 2,000, was proposed on the Delhi pattern. However, the administration did not approve it due to political intervention.

According to the new policy, residents who buy cars costing Rs 10 lakh and above will have to pay 50% of its price as road tax. That’s not all. If you buy a second car, irrespective of the price, you will have to pay 50% of its price. The existing policy charges 6% as road tax for vehicles costing up to Rs 20 lakh and 8% for vehicles above Rs 20 lakh.

The department of urban planning finalised the draft parking policy on Thursday and invited objections from the public within 15 days.But many have called the new policy impractical, not different from those that were scrapped by the UT administration in the past years.

Once again, the draft has been prepared in the absence of an efficient public transport system, leading to traffic congestion and parking problems. The city has the highest density of vehicles in the country, the average number for each family being more than two. However, not a single project that the administration planned to battle the problem has materialised in the last decade.

Key projects that were introduced and scrapped include the construction of eight underpasses, metro rail, congestion and entry tax.Now, once again, the new draft parking policy has invited sharp criticism from residents and politicians.

The new draft policy also seeks to clamp down on the number of vehicles sold in one quarter. Moving on, residents will have to purchase certificate of ownership/entitlement and certificate of parking availability during vehcile registration will be a necessity. The administration has also planned to hike the rates of public parking.

First Published: Nov 25, 2017 14:55 IST