Delhi govt set to notify parking policy

The Delhi government is all set to notify its ambitious parking policy without Lt Governor Anil Baijal’s stamp, which is likely to draw the ire of Raj Niwas. Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot said that the file pertaining to its final notification will not be sent to the L-G, in whose name the draft policy was issued in January. “It is not a reserved subject. L-G is bound by aid and advice of council of ministers. Files need not travel to him,” Gahlot said.
The parking policy aims to regulate parking and make it chargeable even in the city’s residential areas, and will also link parking charges with the levels of pollution. AAP believes the L-G’s stamp is not needed in rolling out the first-of-its-kind policy, especially after the July 4 Supreme Court verdict, which had limited the L-G’s role considerably, casting away the need to have his concurrence on every matter.

However, in this case, the transport department had, on January 29, “by order and in the name of Lieutenant Governor of the National Capital Territory of Delhi”, issued the draft “Delhi Maintenance and Management of Parking Rules, 2017”, inviting public feedback within one month. Subsequently, after a prolonged back-and-forth, the law department vetted the policy and returned it to Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot in July.

“The parking policy will be notified under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. Under the Act, the competent authority to notify such rules in Delhi’s context is the Lt Governor. It may look like a minor technical point, but it is crucial for it to become a law,” an official said. Officials privy to the developments said not many changes have been brought in the policy from its draft form during the vetting and finalising phases.

It is learnt that the minister returned the file to Transport Commissioner Varsha Joshi last week, omitting Baijal’s name, thereby appearing to suggest that the final notification would be in his name. Joshi could not be reached for comments despite repeated attempts. Incidentally, the recent notification on Delhi Road Safety Policy was directly in the minister’s name. But officials point out that the road safety policy had no connection with the Motor Vehicles Act, making it possible for the minister to notify it. The delay in notifying the policy will also push back its comprehensive roll-out as several steps, including the fixing of parking rates by the municipal corporations in consultation with Residents Welfare Associations (RWAs), is also incumbent upon its notification.

The SDMC had, in May, announced that once the rules are notified, the corporations will charge three times more for surface parking than at multi-level facilities, besides disallowing parking within 25 metres from roundabouts and traffic intersections. Under the proposed policy, on-street parking fee for the first hour would be priced at least twice as much as off-street parking; on-street parking fee will increase with duration to discourage long-duration of on-street parking, among others.