Cure for South Delhi's parking madness: 7 areas chosen to ease worsening car chaos
Inadequate parking spaces because of mismanagement and rule violations is a crisis that even India's top court has acknowledged.
"It's a huge problem even footpaths and roads are being used for parking, holding back the prosperity of the National Capital," a bench observed on March 6.
South Delhi is one of the areas hit really hard by daily parking madness. Now, authorities have finally woken up and come up with what they call a "micro-level" plan to demarcate car spaces and no-parking zones in shopping and residential complexes.
The seven areas identified for the project include Green Park, Aurobindo Place Market, Hauz Khas and Gulmohar Park where the situation is going out of control.
"I struggle to park my car because all spaces are occupied. Even footpaths are full of cars and motorcycles. It's an unending madness that no one seems to care about," said businessman Shyam Mohan who has a shop in S Block of Green Park.
Seema Singh, a PR professional, faces the same madness in going to Hauz Khas. "We work out of an eatery there. But there is absolutely no space for parking," she said.
The situation is worse in residential areas where there are no checks on the number of vehicles parked. South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) officials now say the crisis will soon ease as the plan will be implemented by the month-end.
"It has been approved by the Lieutenant Governor (L-G). We will install signages for no-parking and tow-away zones. This will also improve walkability and non-motorised transport mobility," a senior SDMC official told Mail Today.
"Market associations and RWAs have shown interest in taking over parking lots for management. We're waiting for markets and RWAs to come with their suggestions," he said.
Officials say the plan would be like the one implemented in Lajpat Nagar where SDMC and the traders' association have designated parking spaces and installed CCTV cameras for effective enforcement.
Anumita Roy Chowdhury, member of a Delhi government committee for framing parking rules, said such plans could be implemented effectively only after the city's parking policy is notified.
"The 2017 rule provides for a parking area management plan. SDMC is now developing plans for different areas like Lajpat Nagar and Green Park. But the overall objective is to come up with a parking area management plan and implement that on ground. The aim is to demarcate legal parking on ground and follow certain rules," she said.
"The fundamental issue is that for proper parking management, you need to have a proper area-wise parking plan. It means that in any given area, you have to identify areas where you can and cannot provide legal parking. Then you need to find management and pricing strategies. So the devil is in the detail," said Roy Chowdhury who is also associated with Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).
The Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority, one of the stake-holders identified by the Supreme Court, has pointed to multiplicity of agencies as a major hurdle in implementing parking norms.
In its observation, the Apex Court asked for a joint meeting of EPCA, the municipal bodies, the Delhi government's transport department and other agencies to prepare a parking plan for the capital.
After this EPCA put forth its recommendations in a report which insisted that the Delhi government be directed to notify the Delhi Maintenance and Management of Parking Rules-2017, pending due to a tussle between the Delhi government and the L-G.
BLOOD ON THE LOT
The gravity of the situation can be gauged from the fact that people have been killed in parking brawls. Over the last one year, at least one person has been killed every month because of parking-related disputes, say the police.
And every day, the police receive close to 250 calls on their helpline number about disputes triggered by fights over parking space.