New Delhi: To curb the rapidly increasing vehicular population in the city, the Delhi government is mulling a number of measures, including hefty hike in parking fees, introduction of congestion charges for entering in specific areas and improving the public transport system.
The government has already taken an in-principle decision to increase parking fees on the recommendation of the Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) and the High Court-appointed Special Task Force.
It is also planning to significantly hike penalties on vehicles plying without prescribed emission norms, fitness certificate and Pollution Under Control (PUC) Certificate.
"Increasing vehicular population is a major challenge facing the city and we will have to take tough decisions to deal with it. The measures are being considered at the highest level," a top official in Delhi government said.
As per government statistics, the city currently has over 65 lakh vehicles, which was just 5.62 lakh in 1981. The total number of vehicles in Delhi is more than the combined total of vehicles in Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata. On an average over 1,000 vehicles are added to the city roads everyday.
The official, quoting a study said, currently 11 percent of total area in the city is being used for parking space and it was time to take some drastic steps to control number of vehicles.
The High Court-appointed Special Task Force, in its report in February, had also strongly recommended hiking the parking rates significantly.
Levying of hefty road tax, introduction of congestion charge and putting high premium on parking were some of the measures the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) had suggested to Delhi government to check growth of private vehicles and overcome traffic mess in the city.
In a letter to Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit last year, the CSE, citing examples of various cities including London, Stockholm and Tokyo, said that experience from across the world showed that parking controls, parking pricing along with taxes top the list as first generation car restraint measures.
In a document submitted to Planning Commission outlining priorities for the 12th Plan period (2012-17), the Delhi government identified imposing congestion tax, introducing annual carbon cess and increasing parking charges as measures being taken to cut down growth of vehicle and reduce pollution.
"Incentives for shifting of commuters from personal vehicles to public transport modes may be in the form assured, convenient and integrated multi-modal public transport system with common ticketing and linkages between different modes," the government said in the document.
To discourage people from using private vehicles, the government has decided to invest significantly on public transport system. As part of the initiative, the government has planned to set up 14 separate monorail networks across the city.
The Delhi government has already asked the Delhi Metro to prepare a detailed project report within three months for the first 11-km-long monorail network between Shastri Park and Laxmi Nagar in East Delhi.