The National Green Tribunal has rapped the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways over its failure to submit a report on the number of vehicles which can be permitted in the national capital in proportion to the capacity of the roads.
Terming it as a “criminal offence”, a bench headed by National Green Tribunal (NGT) Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel granted a last opportunity to the secretary of the Ministry of Transport to furnish the report.
“It is not clear why the Ministry of Transport has failed to furnish any report inspite of order of this tribunal, violation of which is a criminal offence.
“Thus, this default may require taking of coercive measures but before doing so, we grant last opportunity to the Secretary, Ministry of Transport to comply with the order and furnish a report by e-mail within one month failing which further coercive measures may have to be taken personally against the Secretary, Ministry of Transport, Government of India to enforce the rule of law,” the bench said in a recent order.
The tribunal noted that it had ordered the ministry to conduct the study in October last year and the matter was to be considered on April 29, 2019. However, as no report was received, the matter was adjourned thrice, it noted.
The applicant may furnish a complete set of papers to the Secretary, Ministry of Transport and file an affidavit of service within a week, the NGT said while posting the matter for hearing on December 9.
Noting the adverse impact of vehicular emissions on the air quality, the green panel had directed the transport ministry to conduct a study on the number of vehicles which can be permitted in the national capital in proportion to the capacity of the roads.
It had said the menace of illegal parking and encroachments is a serious issue not only in Delhi but in all major cities.
“The question of number of vehicles to be permitted proportionate to the capacity of the roads in a city is vital issue of planning on which a policy is required to be explored in larger interest of environment especially for cities or areas where air quality is not consistent with the norms,” the bench had said.
“This needs to be explored by the Ministry of Transport, Government of India in consultation with the concerned states. It may be advisable to have a Committee of experts on the subject which to examine the issue in time bound manner,” it had added.
The direction came while hearing a plea filed by bus operator Metro Transit Private Limited seeking direction to remove hawkers, construction material lying on the roads and stop unauthorised parking for smooth flow of traffic so that the business of the applicant transport company is not obstructed and environment protected.
According to the applicant, it was difficult to conduct operations as substantial parts of roads are occupied either by hawkers or by illegally parked vehicles.
The plea said that a large number of idle vehicles parked illegally lead to congestion, adding to the air pollution.