News from India Reg Car curbs
- Thanks Eric for initiating the discussion here. I myself read with interest the news item as it seemed to encapsulate all the things we have been speaking all along. My reading about the National Climate Change Action plan that was launched by the Prime Minister in June this year was that it was aimed at the elections next year. With a larger number of people having seen The Inconvenient Truth and suddenly climate change having become the buzz word it was important for the government to come up with a position on climate change. Before that the government was just not visible on this issue.
Freda has raised the important point about political will. Political will is clearly the function of an aware and informed public, which is still not the case. English speaking population is a small minority in the country and most of the discussion and activity is happening there only. Activities like the one mentioned in the news report taking place at the Urban Ministry need to finally be hardwired around the country.
It is finally the policies that are drafted by citizens of small towns or big cities by intense discussion amongst themselves is what is going to count. I was involved with a car pooling exercise for Mumbai in 2006 during which we actively participated in policy discussions on parking and the local political leadership was woefully inadequate.
The current exercise is still aimed at the elections I think but should still yield value - coming on the front page as it is.
Mumbai Environmental Social Network
www.rishiaggarwaal.wordpress.com2008/12/15 Eric Britton <eric.britton@...>
Thanks for Kanthis Kannan, The Right to Walk Foundation, Hyderabad for the heads-up (interesting that these recommendations come not from a purely transportation agency but there Urban Development Ministry. Makes sense as the right place to take this kind of decision, would not you say? Eric Britton
Climate plan wants drastic curbs on private cars
15 Dec 2008, 0006 hrs IST, Nitin Sethi & Mahendra Kumar Singh, TNN
NEW DELHI: Owning and using private vehicles could become a lot tougher if proposals made by the National Action Plan on Climate Change are
Alarmed by the burgeoning growth of private vehicles in Indian cities and the resultant rise in fuel emissions, a panel under the action plan has suggested a slew of measures that promise to change the face of urban transport.
At the heart of these recommendations is the understanding that all-round costs of using personal vehicles need to be raised even as public transport is strengthened.
The measures - proposed by the Mission on Sustainable Habitat under the action plan being prepared by the urban development ministry -include making ownership of parking space compulsory for those wishing to buy new private vehicles, making parking fee reflect the cost of land, imposing a congestion charge and making parts of the city off limits for cars.
The mission document is being prepared to detail what the PM's council on climate change had passed in principle a few months ago. The report notes that growth of registered vehicles is four times the rate of growth of population in six major metros - Delhi, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Chennai.
Simultaneously the share of public transport has declined from 69% to 38% in the 1994-2007 period in cities with population above 4 million.
It warns that the fuel consumption for road vehicles, if unchecked, would be six times the 2005 level by 2035 and greenhouse gas emissions would go up 5.8 times in the 30-year period.
The mission has recommended dedicating select corridors to only public transport, limiting the availability of parking space in city centres, banning parking on arterial roads, charging higher parking rates at peak hours, make street parking steep and reducing the use of diesel propelled private vehicles besides other measures.
While this may seem like a wish list many experts have recommended before, as part of the climate change action plan, many of these ideas have a good chance of getting implemented for the first time. The mission document is to be shared with the PM's climate change council before it gets operational.
"The Centre provides funds for urban development. We would build these into the city and municipal plans that we fund in consultation with states and the respective cities," said a senior official in the urban development ministry, explaining how the recommendations would be turned into regulations.
The mission document also recommends creation of a regulatory body which will lay down minimum basic service standards for the industry, impose heavy fines, suspend or even cancel licenses and prosecute the erring agencies or individuals.
There's also a proposal for a dedicated urban transport fund to pump money into running public transport better in urban areas.
Endorsing the moves by the power ministry, it has also backed the imposition of tough fuel efficiency norms for vehicles and gone further to recommend that government's purchase of vehicles should be done keeping fuel efficiency in mind.
To back innovation and improvement in technology the mission has asked for fiscal incentives linked to fuel economy of the vehicles.
"Our ignorance is not so vast as our failure to use what we know."
-- M. King Hubbert --