Time to solve a solvable encroachment problem 

News: Recently, illegal structures on public land in National Capital Regional of Delhi were razed using bulldozers. This has brought into forefront the major issues of encroachment in the urban areas. 

What are the major issues in urban areas? 

Traffic 

The urban spaces are plagued with the problem of vehicular saturation. There is scarcity of land resources and continuing problems of unauthorized parking, blockage of major roads, entry areas like hospital access. 

This has been due to the auto boom in the Indian Economy since 1991. There are around 350 million vehicles on roads. Around 47 million of them are cars which are stationary and occupying space unpaid for. 

In India, traffic rules are routinely flouted, they are poorly enforced. In fact, motorists are often surprised when they are enforced effectively. 

Other things 

The urban areas witness the issue of illegal encroachment, ‘squatters’ settlement’, slum proliferation, among other things.  

Way Forward 

The New Motor Vehicle Act of 2019 should be strictly implemented. It mandates that a vehicle cannot be left at a spot that either impedes or endangers others. The act mentions barred zones which have been broadened to cover footpaths, bus stops, main roads, high-speed routes, entrances of premises and spots near traffic signals, crossings, pedestrian stripes, hilltops, bridges and street bends.  

If there is non-compliance to the above provisions, the violation can lead to a fine and the towing away of the vehicle left unattended for over 10 hours in a public place, wrecked or abandoned cars.  

Digital India, technologies like satellite or drone technology among others can be used to spot order and find cause-effect relationships in India’s chaotic traffic systems. The government can go for pricing the scarce resource. 

Delhi can roll out a road-pricing policy on a pilot basis aimed at coffer filling as much as market discipline 

The technology like space orbiters and smartphones etc. could be used to provide real time analysis of traffic, parking and other aspects. This can be extended to an era of varying tariffs based on demand and supply in real time.  

Source: The post is based on an article “Time to solve a solvable encroachment problem” published in the “The Hindu” on 11th May 2022. 

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