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Four-fold hike in parking fee, ban on trucks rolled back

SNS | New Delhi |

The four-fold hike in parking fee, aimed at to discourage private vehicles to ply on Delhi roads and force them to utilise public transport, and ban on construction activities, entry of trucks was rolled back on Thursday, according to Environment Pollution Control and Prevention Authority (EPCA).

The Supreme Court appointed-pollution control board lifted the parking fee hike measure citing ‘problems’ in its effective enforcement, which has led to parking on the roads, adding to traffic congestion.

However, measures enforced under the Graded Response Action Plan’s (GRAP) ‘severe’ category including the closure of the Badarpur thermal power plant, ban on brick kilns, hot mix plants and stone crushers will stay, the EPCA said and added that the ban on trucks and construction activities should be lifted with ‘immediate effect’ as the prevailing air quality does not warrant such tough action.

The increase in parking fee was suggested after pollution levels in Delhi reached the ‘severe’ level. For the last two days, the Delhi’s Air Quality Index (AQI) has been in ‘very poor’ category.

On parking fee hike measure, EPCA chairperson Bhure Lal wrote to the chief secretaries of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan that, this measure has been made ineffective because of the lack of public transport and partly because of poor enforcement of illegal and unauthorised parking.

EPCA also observed that the hike, which is a part of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP), is supposed to be in effect even when the air quality is ‘very poor’, not only when it turns ’emergency’.

Earlier on Wednesday, Delhi Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot had written to Lt Governor Anil Baijal urging him to ‘reconsider’ the hike effected to tackle alarming pollution levels.

Hike in charges by municipal corporations has resulted in people resorting to roadside parking or using facilities at malls, Gahlot had said.

(With agency inputs)