The Delhi parking policy, which has been delayed by over a year, may not be notified any time soon, with two major roadblocks — both relating to the tussle between the elected government and the Lt-Governor — stalling its progress.
Officials said Delhi Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot had directed the transport department to drop the clause on parking fees in residential colonies from the draft policy.
However, sources said that the department conveyed to the minister that the change, “which is substantial in nature”, can be carried out only after issuing another draft of the policy and seeking public feedback on it. The Indian Express has learnt that the file was sent to the minister on March 5. “But for a draft to be issued again, it has to be sent to Lt-Governor Anil Baijal first, which the minister is unlikely to do,” sources added.
Crucial policy to check congestion and pollution
The delay in notifying the Delhi Maintenance and Management of Parking Rules, 2017, had prompted the Supreme Court to direct the Delhi government on January 19 to resolve the deadlock. Terming it as a crucial intervention to check congestion and pollution, the court even said that Delhi cannot prosper unless the parking problem is fixed. Officials say that the policy seeks to discourage long-term parking, bring order on streets, encourage people to use public transport and also link parking rates to levels of pollution.
A draft of the policy was placed in the public domain by the Transport Department on January 29, 2018, and feedback was collected from public. Though the policy was ready to be notified, it was not done due to difference of opinion between Gahlot and the officers over the need for the L-G’s approval.
The delay in notification had forced the Supreme Court to intervene. Subsequently, it directed the agencies concerned — including the EPCA, Traffic Police and MCDs — to make submissions on the residential area charges clause by March 29.
“The EPCA is against any dilution and so it might make submissions. But the Delhi government is unlikely to do so as the SC, during the last hearing, appeared to agree that charging people in residential areas made no sense,” an official said.
Meanwhile, Gahlot told The Indian Express that after the transport commissioner, the Delhi Law department too conveyed to him that the policy cannot be notified without the L-G’s nod. Law Secretary Anoop Kumar Mendiratta made the department’s stand clear in two file notings, Gahlot said. “I also wrote back stating that the matter falls in the elected government’s jurisdiction…,” he added.
This effectively means that even if the SC manages to resolve the issue over the specific clause, the policy will be stuck in limbo. The law secretary did not respond to requests for a comment.