August 5, 2014
Hindustan Times (Delhi)
NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Monday agreed to hear a plea seeking a review of its order banning e-rickshaws on the roads in the Capital.
The HC, on July 31, had ordered a ban on these vehicles, saying they are prima facie a hazard to other traffic as well as citizens.
A bench of Justice BD Ahmed and Justice Siddharth Mridul said it will hear the application filed by the Battery Rickshaw Welfare Association on Tuesday.
“You are very well aware of the traffic regulations. Until and unless it (e-rickshaws) is regulated, how can it be permitted?” the bench asked.
Advocate RK Kapoor, appearing for the association, sought urgent hearing of the case saying an advisory had been issued by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways to the chief secretaries of all the state governments and Union territories regarding regulation of electric motor propelled three-wheeled vehicles.
Kapoor contended that this advisory had not been brought to the attention of the court.
The application contended that lakhs of families depend upon e-rickshaws for their livelihood “and in the interest of justice, this court may review/modify the order dated July 31”.
There are around 70,000 battery-operated rickshaws plying on roads in the national capital.
The association pleaded that since the ministry proposes to amend the Motor Vehicles Act for regulating such e-rickshaws, they may be permitted to operate, subject to the compliance of any regulations, which may be issued by the Delhi traf fic police or the local administration.
It also sought directions to the authorities to act upon the ministry’s advisory which “specifically provides that to provide last-mile connectivity to the commuters and livelihood to manually operated three-wheeled rickshaws and carts, it was decided to facilitate their replacement with electric motor powered three-wheeled rickshaws and carts”.
On July 31, the HC had ordered a ban on these vehicles saying they were illegally running and “prima facie a hazard to other traffic as well as citizens”.
July 24, 2014
The Times of India (Delhi)
HC Slams Delhi Govt, Orders It To Find Solution By July 31
The Delhi government on Wednesday came under fire before the Delhi high court for failure to regulate or check e-rickshaws.HC made it clear to the authorities it won’t permit erickshaws plying “uncontrolled“ on the roads saying “just ban them“.
“We will not permit this unregulated transport. It has to be regulated. They (e-rickshaws) can’t ply uncontrolled without license, registration or insurance. You better make sure in Delhi there is no unregulated traffic,“ a bench of justices Badar Durrez Ahmed and Siddharth Mridul said while hearing a plea that sought regulation of e-rickshaws.
The court made the stinging observations after going through an affidavit filed by the chief secretary saying these vehicles are to be treated as “public service vehicles“ which are “required to comply with all extant rules and regulations“ governing operation of such vehicles.
The affidavit added that no separate policy is required for governing e-rickshaws as they are already covered by the Motor Vehicles (MV) Act and their operation “as per the law, as it stands today, is unauthorized and illegal“.
“He (chief secretary) is saying e-rickshaws to be treated as public service vehicle. So how are they plying if they are not complying with the rules and regulations,“ the bench asked.
The court noted that people are getting injured by e_rickshaws whose drivers get away scot free because the vehicles are unregistered. HC was hearing a petition by one Shanawaz Khan seeking a ban on the vehicles.
In the affidavit, the chief secretary admitted that the Delhi government stopped taking action against e-rickshaws after Union Minister of Road Transport, Nitin Gadkari, announced that laws pertaining to such vehicles will be changed to take them out of ambit of MV Act.
The affidavit informed the high court that the union
ministry directed civic agencies, instead of transport department, to frame policy for regulating operation of erickshaws.But HC was not convinced and directed the Delhi government to “come with all the answers“ on July 31, the next date of hearing.
“Time is running out. People are getting injured. We will give you a week’s time to tell us what you intend to do,“ the bench remarked.
The court had issued the direction after going through the Delhi government’s reply that though e-rickshaws are operating illegally , the government is “not competent“ to stop them as it will entail amendment to the MV Act.
In his petition, Khan alleged that e-rickshaws are operating with four 12 volt batteries with power output of 650 to 850 watt and are designed to ferry only four people, including the driver. But the vehicles routinely ferry more than 8 people at a time and endanger lives, it said.
Earlier on February 19, the high court had asked the Delhi government to appraise it of any policy decisions taken for regulating e-rickshaws which ply without a license or number plates.
July 23, 2014
After Gurgaon, it is Delhi’s turn to reclaim the streets. In a unique initiative to promote sustainable public transport, Delhi Police and New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) along with civic society members are organizing Raahgiri Day at Connaught Place on Sunday. The event, which will be organized on every Sun day morning, is supported by The Times of India.Raahgiri is a unique concept to free up a section of the city’s roads from traffic once a week and open it up to citizens to walk, cycle, jog, skate, or even dance. On Sunday , the event will start with a mega cycle rally followed by a wide range of cultural and sports events, including musical performances by Manzil Group and Delhi Drummers, a rock band.For the rally, rent-free cycles will be avail able at the venue for visitors. Delhi Police will cordon off Inner Circle in Connaught Place and parts of Kasturba Gandhi Marg for motorists from 6am to 9am to provide space for cyclists, joggers and skaters.
Muktesh Chander, special commissioner of police (traffic), said, “The aim is to promote walking and cycling. More than 50% of the road fatalities involve cyclists and pedestrians. This is an opportunity for all of us to make city roads safer for cyclists and pedestrians.There is a need to create adequate infrastructure for them”.
Modelled on the Ciclovia festival of Bogota in Colombia—a weekly event that’s been held for more than three decades now— Raahgiri aims at promoting sustainable transport and encourage people to engage in outdoor activity. “The idea is to encourage cycling and walking among residents and also promote the use of public transport to de-clutter city roads. We want people to engage in outdoor activity. People can come out and enjoy on a Delhi road,” said Jalaj Srivastava, chairman, NDMC.
In Gurgaon, NGOs like Embarq India have been successfully organizing Raahgiri Day where people come and take part in all kinds of outdoor activities. “Delhi is critical when it comes to urban planning and transport. We want the government to keep pedestrians and cyclists in mind while planning urban infrastructure. It is equally important to encourage people to indulge in outdoor activities. Through Raahgiri, we
Modelled on the Ciclovia festival of Bogota in Colombia–a weekly event that’s been held for more than three decades now-Raahgiri aims at promoting sustainable transport and encourage people to engage in outdoor activity. “The idea is to encourage cycling and walking among residents and also promote the use of public transport to de-clutter city roads. We want people to engage in outdoor activity . People can come out and enjoy on a Delhi road,“ said Jalaj Srivastava, chairman, NDMC.In Gurgaon, NGOs like Embarq India have been successfully organizing Raahgiri Day where people come and take part in all kinds of outdoor activities. “Delhi is critical when it comes to urban planning and transport. We want the government to keep pedestrians and cyclists in mind while planning urban infrastructure. It is equally important to encourage people to indulge in outdoor activities. Through Raahgiri, we want to promote road safety, a pollution-free city, active lifestyle and inclusive development,’’ said Amit Bhatt, head of transport at Embarq India.
Bhatt added, “In Gurgaon, we started the event on a 4-km long stretch in November. Today, it is organized every Sunday on a 15-km stretch. It is a huge hit here (Gurgaon) and is attended by thousands of people not only from Gurgaon but also from Delhi”.
Apart from Gurgaon, the event has been successfully organized in Ludhiana, Mumbai and Pune.
transport at Embarq India.Bhatt added, “In Gurgaon, we started the event on a 4-km long stretch in November. Today , it is organized every Sunday on a 15-km stretch. It is a huge hit here (Gurgaon) and is attended by thousands of people not only from Gurgaon but also from Delhi“.
Apart from Gurgaon, the event has been successfully organized in Ludhiana, Mumbai and Pune.
July 23, 2014
NEW DELHI: To promote non-motorized transport, New Delhi Municipal Council has sought help from Delhi Integrated Multi-modal Transit System (DIMTS) in identifying stretches that can be made cyclist-friendly. The idea is to create space without disrupting traffic on arterial roads.”Where continuous tracks can’t be provided, we want DIMTS to find a way of crossing over to the other side. We have requested it to be the consultant for the project,” said O P Mishra, director (projects). The NDMC area has few stretches where cyclists can ride freely.The civic agency and police, along with Embarq India, a non-profit organization, are organizing Raahgiri Day every Sunday to promote cycling and walking. The event is supported by The Times of India. The first Raahgiri Day on July 13 received an overwhelming response with close to 3,000 people from the NCR participating in the event. The venue is Connaught Place’s Inner Circle.
Recently, NDMC developed five cycling tracks: Lodhi Road and Lodhi Garden area, Tilak Marg, Mandir Marg, Zakir Hussain Marg, and India Gate Hexagon. “These tracks have been developed keeping in mind the traffic volume so that cyclists can ride for long distances,” said an NDMC official.
Urban planners and road safety experts have been pushing for safer infrastructure for pedestrian and cyclists for long. Efforts like Raahgiri, which aims at promoting sustainable transport, will encourage people to reclaim the streets, experts said.
“We want people to come out and take back what is rightfully theirs. The Delhi government should factor in the needs of pedestrians and cyclists while formulating plans. Outdoor activities are no less important. Through Raahgiri, we want to promote a safe and pollution-free city, an active lifestyle and inclusive development,” said Amit Bhatt, head of transport at Embarq India.
Traffic cops have been doing their bit for cyclists and pedestrians. “In the absence of defined paths, cyclists enter the motorists’ lanes. Cycle tracks developed during CWG have not been used. We have come up with drives raise awareness among cyclists,” said Mukhtesh Chander, special commissioner of police (traffic).
July 15, 2014
“There is a need to bring down dependence on motorized vehicles. We need to encourage people to walk and cycle. This is possible only if we provide them the right infrastructure,” said Amit Bhatt, head of transport at Embarq India, a civil society group.
Raahgiri Day was organized at Connaught Place on Sunday by New Delhi Municipal Council, along with Embarq India, and supported by The Times of India.
Though the government has taken several initiatives to promote use of public transport, little work has been done on the ground. The Delhi Development Authority’s transit oriented development (TOD) policy is yet to be implemented. “TOD is a great concept and will bring down dependence on private vehicles as the government plans to set up high-density residential and commercial units around mass transit corridors like the Metro,” said Bhatt, whose organization has been pushing for sustainable public transport.
According to a Delhi Development Authority official, “We are in the process of drafting the policy. It will be placed before a panel of experts for review before it is approved by the authority. It will be then sent to the Union urban development ministry.”
Events like Raahgiri, Bhatt says, are just a step towards creating awareness about sustainable public transport and encourage people to lead a healthy lifestyle. “Through Raahgiri we want promote cycling and walking. We are looking at a shift from private to public transport. For this, the government needs to provide infrastructure.”
In Gurgaon, Raahgiri was originally organized on a 4-km long stretch but the event is now being held on a 15-km long stretch. “The civic agency is now maintaining stretches where the event is held. If people start walking and cycling, the agencies will have no option but to provide infrastructure,” he said.
October 25, 2013
Hindustan Times (Delhi) HT Correspondent firstname.lastname@example.org
APATHY Govt has prepared an action plan to encourage people to walk and cycle, but its execution isn’t likely soon
NEW DELHI: Despite frequent fatalities, non-motorised mobility, which essentially involves cycling and walking, has not been a priority for the government.
The urban sprawl of Delhi means increased distances, forcing more and more people to use cars. This has led to the creation of massive carcentric infrastructure.
“Flyovers, signal-free corridors and foot overbridges destroy chances of safe walking and cycling. Even more people are forced to use cars. And the vicious cycle continues,” said Anumita Roychowdhury of Centre for Science and Environment.
“Cyclists are being edged out systematically to make way for cars — sometimes literally,” said a statement from the CSE, whose director-general Sunita Narain was on Sunday hit and injured by a car while she was cycling.
The action plan says: “We need to expand non-motorised transport to reduce automobile dependence through massive expansion in walking and cycling network to improve lastmile connectivity. We need street design guidelines and robust laws to protect pedestrians and cyclists, besides reviewing and implementing the bicycle master plan.”
“The plan which also asks for safety audits of pedestrians and cycling lanes has been put on hold because it also provides for heavy penalty for violations. The political leadership feels its implementation may not be a good idea in an election year,” admitted a senior government official.
In Delhi, a large number of cyclists can be seen every day, jostling for spacewith cars, twowheelers, buses, three-wheelers and commercial vehicles.
“More than 50 per cent of total trips in a day is less than 6km. That means there is a lot of scope and potential to promote cycling,” said Nalin Sinha, a transport expert.
In a city where a large number of people depend on private vehicles to travel shorter distances and to reach bus terminals and Metro stations, cycle and cycle sharing can offer a reliable transport system. But Delhi lacks the basic infrastructure and a conducive atmosphere.
“A fine network of streets, which are only for non-motorised transport, provide shorter connection and cut through the urban fabric,” said Anuj Malhotra, an expert in nonmotorised traffic.
“Providing adequate and safe walking and cycling infrastructure are the primary obligations of city governments and municipal authorities. The government will have to spend only a fraction of its flyover or elevated road budget to develop safe and segregated bicycle lanes and cyclist-friendly infrastructure and facilities in the entire city,” Sinha said.
Delhi registers an average of 100 deaths every year due to road accidents involving bicycles.