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December 15, 2012

HC ropes in agencies to decongest Chandni Chowk

Who is congesting Chandni Chowk? Vehicles or human beings? Twelve cycle-rickshaws ferrying people around, or 23 huge parked cars serving only one shopkeeper a day??
[Photo courtesy Nipesh Narayan, Assistant Professor, Sushant School of Architecture]

NEW DELHI: The Delhi high court on Friday expressed concern over congestion in the thickly populated Chandni Chowk area and roped in two agencies to chart a plan to solve the problem.

A Special Bench dealing with traffic problems turned its attention to Chandni Chowk and asked UTTIPEC and the Shahjahanabad Redevelopment Corporation to suggest ways in which the area can be decongested after carrying out a study.
Meanwhile, almost a month after being rapped for keeping the multi-level parking facility in Chandni Chowk closed, the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) on Friday told the HC it will become functional next month.
Assuring a special bench of Justice S Ravindra Bhat and Justice S Muralidhar that the parking will decongest the crowded area, the corporation said it plans to re-start the facility soon. It was answering HC's query on why the ready-to-use multilevel parking facility in the area is closed, though it had been inaugurated twice.
The court also refused to grant more than two weeks time to the corporation to start the process of registering over 7 lakh cycle rickshaws plying in the city. Rejecting the NDMC's plea to grant more time, the bench made it clear the process must start in next two weeks ort else the commissioner will be held accountable.
HC had earlier cleared the decks for smooth registration of cycle rickshaws and quashed a rule of the erstwhile MCD that insisted on an address/identification proof from the owners, after activists complained it had resulted in harassment of the poor.
Lifting its stay on the policy and operation of the civic agency for registration of cyclerickshaws HC had said it shouldn't insist on ID proof in the application form for issuing licences. The petitioners in the case, Manushi, argued that information sought in the form is irrelevant and objectionable.
Unhappy with the criteria established by the corporation for registration of the vehicle and issuance of licence, Manushi had also cited an example, "The application form for registration seeks whether the applicant is suffering from tuberculosis (TB) and for how many years he has been staying in the city."
The special bench constituted to monitor the capital's pilot project for non-motorised vehicles (NMV), including cycle rickshaws on city roads, had earlier stayed the policy and asked the corporation not to implement the policy till it incorporates certain changes. It had also asked the corporation to reconsider its decision of charging the annual fee of Rs 25 for renewal of the licence for cycle rickshaws.

Source: TOI, Delhi Edition, 15.12.2012

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