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NGT to govt: What will be the state of roads if you add 10,000 buses?

The observation came after government stated that Delhi has one of the highest road densities in the world at 21.19 km of road per sq km of land area.

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While criticising the Delhi government’s proposal to introduce 10,000 DTC buses in the city, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) said Delhi was adding thousands of cars every day and that it takes an hour to travel 10 km. “If you introduce buses simultaneously, what would be the state of roads? Will you be able to move an inch? Have you thought about this? Encourage public transport, but what is your scheme on this?” the NGT bench asked.

When the Delhi government had approached the Tribunal with this proposal, it had questioned the feasibility of such a plan. The NGT also asked if any studies had been conducted to corroborate it and if there was space to park these buses.

The observation came after the government stated that Delhi has one of the highest road densities in the world at 21.19 km of road per sq km of land area, while the total road length was around 30,000 km.

The government also stated that the number of buses in Delhi was much less than “cities such as Sao Paulo, Paris, Seoul, Beijing, Shanghai and London”. The government also faced flak from the Tribunal after it said it had “no problem” with a decision taken by the Centre on the age of vehicles permitted to ply in Delhi, through an amendment to the Motor Vehicles Act.

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The Tribunal replied, “What do you mean you are okay with it? We want your opinion on this. What sort of answer is this – that if the Centre does it we have no problem? What is the role of the state (then)?”

While the government maintained that all 600 pollution checking centres – for computerised checking of pollution levels – would soon be online, the Tribunal asked the government if they had the “manpower and capacity” for the same. “There are people whom one can pay to get a fitness certificate. Even tribunal members have seen this,” the bench observed.

The government also rejected the idea of having variable office hours for the government and the private sector to minimise vehicular traffic, saying it was not feasible. The government also said it was providing subsidy between Rs 50,000 and Rs 1.5 lakh to e-rickshaws. It added that there was no immediate proposal to ply electric buses as public service vehicles.

First published on: 08-08-2015 at 01:15:44 am
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