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Delhi’s parking policy caught in government-governor tussle

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New Delhi, Dec 4: The national capital’s first parking policy, which will restrict free parking in residential and public spaces and will enforce strict fines and criminal proceedings against vehicle owners found in violation of its provisions, has been stuck for more than 10 months, apparently caught in a tussle between the city government and the Lt Governor.

Officials say the file is pending with Delhi Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot even after its draft rules, titled Delhi Maintenance and Management of Parking Rules, 2017, were published in January after a nod from both Delhi Lt. Governor Anil Baijal and the minister.

“The policy is pending with the minister since August. It has to go to the LG for notification,” an official from the Transport Department told IANS on the condition of anonymity.

The minister, the official said, was not sending the file to the LG “because he claims it is not required” in view of Supreme Court’s July 4 verdict stating that the Lt Governor does not have independent decision-making powers and is bound to act on the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers.

Soon after the verdict, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had announced that the files of the Delhi government “need not be sent to the LG for approval”.

But a Transport Department official said that the officers “cannot issue a gazette notification without the LG’s approval” and if the government does not send the file for LG’s approval, “it can’t be notified” and implemented.

“The parking rules are under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, and the competent authority is the LG. So, the LG’s nod is not only important but essential in this case,” the official added.

Despite repeated attempts, IANS could not contact Gahlot. His officials did not call back to comment on the development.

According to the notification, issued on January 29, “the said draft will be taken into consideration by the Delhi Government on or after the expiry of 30 days from the date on which copies of the draft rules, publish in Delhi Gazette, are made available to the public”.

The 30-day time was given for raising objections or suggestions by the public in the rules to the Secretary-cum-Commissioner (Transport).

The policy, when implemented, will restrict free parking in residential and public spaces and the parking charges will be decided by civic agencies in consultation with the RWAs.

According to the draft rules, there will be an Apex Monitoring Committee, headed by the Delhi Chief Secretary, which will determine the Base Parking Fee (BPF). The committee — also including Principal Secretary, Urban Development Department, Transport Commissioner, Principal Secretary, Public Works Department, among others — will meet at least once in three months to ensure and review proper implementation and compliance of the rules.

“No surface parking of duration of more than one hour shall ordinarily be allowed within 500-meter of a multilevel/stack parking. The 500-meter radius of the multi-level facility will be designated as ‘no-parking’ zone for all streets,” the draft rules read, adding that, “in case, some essential on-street parking has to be provided within the 500-meter zone, it will be priced exponentially, at least three times the on-street parking rates”.

The policy will also restrict the construction of parking structures in green areas. It will identify roads and spaces for granting permission for overnight parking of Transport Vehicles.

“The parking of vehicles would be permitted during night hours only, upon payment, provided that such roads and spaces will be away from the residential areas and parking should not hinder the smooth flow of traffic. The civic agencies will manage the parking on these notified roads and spaces in an organised manner,” it reads.

No night-time parking of heavy and medium Transport Vehicles will be allowed except on the notified roads and spaces, according to the draft rules.

Experts believe that this will improve decongestion of the roads in the national capital.

According to the government data, Delhi, as of January 2017, has more than one crore registered vehicles, which is more than the number of vehicles in other metropolitan cities in India. However, the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC), North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) and East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) collectively offer space to 72,434 vehicles for parking, out of which 54,982 are surface parking while 17,452 are underground or multilevel parking.

The parking infrastructure to meet the demand of increasing number of private vehicles can be catered only upto a certain limit, according to the draft rule, which also added that several policy approaches were suggested since 2003 by various agencies, however, “a comprehensive policy framework to address this problem could not be evolved”.

IANS

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Madhya Pradesh farmers hopeful of being ‘debt-free’ as loan waiver scheme kicks-off

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Earth Climate

Bhopal, Jan 22 : A week after the launch of the loan waiver scheme in Madhya Pradesh, the Congress government claims 19.54 lakh farmers have filed their applications in the six days till Sunday.

While the opposition BJP has been calling the “Jai Kisan Rin Mukti Yojana” a trick to cheat the farmers, the question is how the farmers of the state perceive the entire exercise.

Kailash Chaudhary, a farmer from Mandsaur district’s Babulda village, said: “About two years ago, six farmers sacrificed their lives for their rights in Pipliya Mandi. This is the beginning of the victory of their fight.”

“Forms are being filled for waiver of loans up to Rs 2 lakh. We feel that the government is taking our demands seriously,” Chaudhary told IANS.

Mandsaur was the centre of farmers’ agitation in 2017 when six farmers were killed in police firing in June, 2017. After the incident, the farmers’ movement had taken over the whole state, which then spread to the whole nation.

Farmer’s leader Kedar Sirohi said: “Farmers in different parts of the state are excited about the loan waiver. They are filing applications in large numbers.”

“To ensure they don’t face any difficulty in filing applications, leaders and workers of farmer organisations are helping them. Government officials is also alert to help out the farmers. Colour coding of application forms has made it easier for farmers to fill out the applications,” he said.

According to official figures, out of the 19.54 lakh forms filed till Sunday, around 60 per cent were green forms, 35 per cent were white forms and 5 percent were pink forms. The farmers are hopeful of becoming debt-free through this exercise.

As per the scheme, the farmers of the Aadhaar seeded list will have to submit green applications and the farmers of non-Aadhar seeded list will have to submit white coloured applications. Farmers have to submit a pink application to file an objection or claim against information provided in the green or white list.

However, the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had been accusing the Congress of misleading the farmers and terming the scheme a trick to cheat them.

Former Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan said the Congress promise of a loan waiver won’t be fulfilled by a mere announcement.

“The Chief Minister (Kamal Nath) and Congress leaders are saying they have fulfilled their promise of loan waiver to the farmers. But the promise has not yet been fulfilled. An announcement does not mean fulfillment of the promise,” he said, adding the Congress was misleading the farmers.

Congress spokesperson Syed Jaffer responded that 55 lakh farmers will get their loans waived of under the scheme, for which the due process needs to be followed.

“No matter what charges the BJP makes, the truth is that farmers are happy and they trust that the Congress is fulfilling the promise that they made to them,” he said.

“Those farmers who are in debt, neither are they now receiving notices from the banks nor is their property being seized. Under BJP rule, farmers had to go to jail and lose their property just for not paying their power bills,” Jaffer told IANS.

Calling the scheme pro-farmer, farmer leader Shiv Kumar Sharma told IANS that political parties were creating doubts about the scheme.

“Farmers were reeling under debt which had increased manifold over the last one-and-a-half decade. Now they are getting waiver of up to Rs 2 lakh. The government is new and one should wait before making adverse comments,” he said.

Kamal Nath had signed the farm loan waiver file soon after taking oath as the Chief Minister. The filing of forms for the waiver started from January 15 and will continue till February 5.

According to the government, farmers will start getting the money in their loan accounts from February 22.

The Chief Minister had said that the scheme would benefit around 55 lakh farmers by waiving their loans worth Rs 50,000 crore.

(Sundeep Pouranik can be contacted at [email protected])

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BJP accuses TMC of vandalising posters ahead of Shah’s rally

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Amit Shah BJP

Malda (West Bengal), Jan 22 (IANS) The West Bengal unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday accused the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) workers of vandalising posters and decorative gates ahead of party chief Amit Shah’s rally here.

“Gates, welcome arches, posters, cut-outs, festoons have been vandalised ahead of our national president’s rally. Gates have set on fire. Vehicles carrying our supporters are being stopped in many places,” state BJP President Dilip Ghosh said.

BJP supporters and activists were threatened and harassed so that they could not attend the programme, he alleged.

“Despite all these, our supporters are active and the process of ‘paribartan’ (change) has been started,” he added.

After high drama over denial of permission for facilitating the landing of Shah’s chopper in Malda, the state’s BJP leadership said that they finally received the clearance at two places in the district.

The BJP received permission to land the chopper at the helipads in Golden Park Hotel here and the one used by the Border Security Force in Malda district.

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Himachal Pradesh: 26 injured after tourist bus skids off road in Bilaspur

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bilaspur bus accident
Photo Credit- ANI

Himachal Pradesh, Jan 22: At least 26 people were injured after a tourist bus skidded off the road near Swarghat area in Himachal Pradesh’s Bilaspur district on Monday.

The 18 injured people have been shifted to the hospital in Nalaghar in Solan district.

Other 8 people who were seriously injured were shifted to PGIMER at Chandigarh.

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