Delhi pollution: Parking fee hike, truck entry ban partially lifted
The EPCA has rolled back anti-pollution measures enforced in Delhi due to toxic smog after air quality reportedly registered improvement. The four-fold hike in parking fees in South Delhi and ban on entry of trucks into the capital as well as on construction work are no longer in force. Ironically, "improvement" meant a change in air quality from "severe" to "very poor".
Anti-pollution steps were taken under Delhi's Graded Response Action Plan
On October 17, the Graded Response Action Plan came into force amid alarming pollution levels. Under the plan, a series of strict measures were to be taken depending on the severity of pollution. Proposed measures included a ban on construction activities, implementation of the odd-even scheme, hike in parking charges, ban on industries, brick kilns and diesel generator sets.
But the parking fee hike backfired badly
Despite noble intentions, the hike in parking fees backfired: it instead "increased congestion, pollution and fights", an SDMC official said. Private parking fee collection companies, anticipating less collection, refused to follow rules. The urgent implementation meant parking attendants had to give out handmade tickets, enraging many car owners and ending in fights. Many even started parking randomly on roads instead of designated parking zones.
The truck ban also led to long lines at borders
Meanwhile, the ban on trucks' entry led to chaos at border points as vehicles queued up. Inefficient implementation meant "vehicles adhering to green norms" were also stuck. According to a transport department official, about 1L commercial vehicles pass through the Delhi border every day.
Some restrictions to remain for now
For now, the parking fee hike in the South and ban on construction activities and truck entry have been lifted with "immediate effect". The hiked fees will remain in the North and East. But other anti-pollution measures continue to be in force, including closure of the Badarpur thermal plant, ban on hot mix plants, brick kilns as well as on stone crushers.