The Allahabad High Court has directed the Principal Secretary (Urban Development) to constitute within one month an expert committee that would decide on the manner in which cycle tracks in urban areas across Uttar Pradesh will be constructed and also explain the steps taken for maintenance of the existing tracks.
While posting the matter for further hearing on January 28, 2015, the court stressed on a policy as “first and foremost” necessity and said ad hoc construction, followed by lack of administrative will, may end in loss of public money, as the cycle tracks may be rendered unusable. .
State government is getting cycle tracks constructed with expert help from Netherlands.
A division bench of Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice P K S Baghel passed the order on December 10, while hearing a PIL filed by Supreme Court advocate K R Chitra, who argued her case in person.
The petitioner has pointed out that the cycle tracks existing in Noida have not only been encroached upon, but have also been rendered unusable because of its extra height. The PIL sought HC’s intervention to ensure planned development of the cycle tracks, which would otherwise lead to the loss of exchequer.
As an example, the petitioner submitted photographs pointing out that nearly Rs 9 crore was spent on constructing cycle track in just one Work Circle Noida. However, it is now encroached by hawkers and squatters.
The PIL pointed out that the government has issued Request for Proposals for 50-km of cycling track in Noida again without any proper planning and assurance that the tracks so constructed would be maintained.
Passing the order, the bench said “first and foremost, it is necessary for the state to constitute a committee” which would should have experts from within and outside the government, including members of civil society, “to advise the state government in regard to the formulation of an appropriate policy in laying out cycle tracks”.
The court noted that, as a matter of principle, encouraging use of cycles in urban areas was not only welcome but also desirable on account of increasing pollution and traffic issues.
The court also directed the state government to counsel to apprise it of the steps that are being taken to ensure maintenance of the tracks.
The government submitted that an exercise to remove the encroachments on the existing tracks has been initiated.