Delhi govt wants work on peripheral roads hastened

Delhi govt wants work on peripheral roads hastened

It plans to talk to other states on curbing pollution

Buoyed by Supreme Court's ‘validation’ of its odd-even move, the Delhi government on Tuesday said it will approach the Centre on speeding up construction of western and eastern peripheral roads which will divert vehicles not bound for the capital. 

Transport Minister Gopal Rai said that the government will also coordinate with neighbouring states to work out ways to bring down pollution levels in the city.

He said he meet the Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari and would request him to expedite the peripheral highway project, after the government finishes its drastic road-rationing experiment on January 15.

“The Supreme Court’s ruling today has only made the Delhi government’s job easier by paving the way forward,: Rai said at a news conference on Tuesday, thanking the apex court for “welcoming” its experiment.

Earlier in the day, the SC in a major ruling said the ban on 2,000 cc diesel-fumed vehicles will continue in Delhi. The court also banned entry of heavy vehicles from four more entry points – National Highway 2 (connecting Delhi to Faridabad), NH 10 (Bahadurgarh), NH 58 (Ghaziabad) and State Highway 57 (Saharanpur).

Claiming continued success on Tuesday, the Delhi government said it managed to handle the rush like the day before – a feat that was described as “passing the litmus test” by Rai. According to him, Transport Department apprehended 237 violators till 3 pm for violating the odd-even rule.

It includes 93 challans against cars and 144 challans against autorickshaws or taxis for refusal and overcharging. The Transport Department helpline received over 700 complaints.

Delhi Traffic Police on Tuesday also issued 303 challans till 3 pm for odd-even violations.
Rai told reporters about his visit to Rajiv Chowk Metro station after pictures of crowded platforms stormed Twitter on Monday. The Arvind Kejriwal government had then claimed that it was part of a “vile campaign” against its odd-even formula.

Averaging ridership for last five Mondays, the minister said Delhi Metro Rail Coporation  carried almost 6,000 less passengers on January 4.. The Metro carried an estimated 28.19 lakh passengers during the weekday rush on Monday.

Delhi Transport Corporation said its strengthened fleet of 7,143 carried 40.6 lakh passengers on Monday against its actual capacity of 65 lakh.

Delhi government said at majority of locations, the levels of particulate matter – PM 2.5 and PM 10.0 – shows a “marked decrease” when compared with same dates and times in previous years.
On an average, PM 2.5 (particulate matter with diameter less than 2.5 microns) levels stood between 200 and 300 units at 13 locations, while seven peripheral areas reported the levels between 300-400 units. Vehicular emission are known source of high PM 2.5 levels in the city.

Rai attributed high pollution levels in the Delhi’s outlying areas such as Sangam Vihar, Ambedkar Nagar, Deoli, Babarpur, Krishna Nagar, Chhatarpur and Jangpura to the entry of trucks in the city.

“Since 1st January, the DPCC mobile teams have so far recorded ambient air data from 55 locations, and the definitive trend is that air quality is improving in central parts and other areas which are not on the borders of the national capital,” a government statement said.

Rai said Delhi government will rope in help from neighbouring states to install weigh-in-motion machines to check entry of overloaded trucks in the city.

He said the government has already released Rs 653 crore in 2006, as its share of funds for the proposed peripheral highway projects. The other two partners, Haryana and  Uttar Pradesh, are yet to release the funds.