Delhi High Court Thursday expressed ire at the delay by Delhi government and civic agencies in creating non-motorised vehicle (NMV) lanes in the city despite directions given in a judgment issued in 2013.
“All that has happened since the last hearing is nothing. You don’t comply with earlier orders. Why must we keep passing orders,” said the bench of Justice S Ravindra Bhat and Justice S Muralidhar after Delhi government standing counsel Rahul Mehra claimed the work of creating NMV lanes and Chandni Chowk road redevelopment had been stalled due to lack of coordination among agencies.
The bench also noted the Delhi government had gone to the Supreme Court to challenge the high court’s 2013 directions for NMV lanes, but had then withdrawn the plea. “The order has achieved finality. You have to implement it,” said the bench.
Seeking more time to submit plans for creating NMV lanes in the Old City area, Mehra said, “No authority is cooperating with the government. Give us opportunity to show that we can get the work done.”
The bench commented, “Do authorities need court orders to perform their own duties?”
The comments came during a hearing on a PIL filed by NGO Manushi Sangathan regarding licensing of cycle rickshaws and redevelopment of the Old Delhi area.
The bench also noted that the “main issue” of NMV lanes had been “sidetracked” with different issues raised by various applications filed in the case, which was filed before the high court in 2009.
The government in its submissions said dedicated NMV lanes had been created at several areas in Delhi, but lawyers present in the courtroom informed the bench that most of the NMV lanes were encroached or were being used as parking lots.
“It’s important to have lane discipline in Delhi,” said the bench, which directed the government to create a plan for NMV lanes that “can be realistically achieved”.
The bench has also asked traffic police to take steps to ensure lane discipline in the city, after it was informed that scooters, three-wheelers and motorcycles were using the NMV lanes, while cycles and rickshaws used the bus lanes.
The bench also directed Delhi Police and MCD to “cooperate” with the government’s plan to relocate electricity transformers and police booths which are “blocking” the work at Chandni Chowk, after Mehra alleged the work of shifting had been stalled as the MCD was “demanding” Rs 2.10 crore as “fee” to use land behind the Town Hall to shift the transformers.