Transportation experts support congestion tax on cars

New Delhi, June 10 (IANS) Urban transport experts Thursday supported Urban Development Minister S. Jaipal Reddy’s view of imposing a road congestion tax on motorists, saying it will help in reducing pollution levels.

‘The government should take a call on it and impose a tax on cars entering Delhi. Such methods will prevent people from buying many cars besides reduction of pollution caused by vehicles,’ said Ashok K. Singh, general manager (operation) Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System Ltd.

Singh said the tax will also help in generating extra money for public transport’s development and other purposes and will discourage people from using cars.

Reddy Wednesday said that states must think of imposing a road congestion tax on motorists in an effort to check vehicle numbers and greenhouse gas emissions.

‘Every state must think of implementing a road congestion tax. Look at Singapore. Everyone talks about its well managed traffic. That’s because they have initiatives like this,’ Reddy said on the sidelines of the launch of the Sustainable Urban Transport Project (SUTP) in the capital.

Some transport experts emphasised that government should focus on strengthening public transport before imposing any congestion tax.

‘It is not a good idea to be implemented in Indian metros like Delhi or others. Since India is still a developing nation, such idea will not be good in terms of the sustainability factor. Such policy is successful in countries like Singapore, London and others because the government has also provided them with other alternatives as well,’ said Sarath Guttikunda, an air pollution analyst from urban emission.info.

Last month the Delhi government said that it is planning to levy a charge on motorists for driving in congested areas of the capital before the Commonwealth Games scheduled for October 3-14.

Delhi Environment Secretary Dharmendra said: ‘The Delhi transport department is working out a plan to levy a fee on motorists driving in the congested areas of the capital before the Games. The step would help in controlling number of vehicles in busy areas during the sporting event.’

The Indian capital is among the most polluted cities in the world. Its major problem is an ever-growing number of cars and two-wheelers, which occupy a staggering 75 percent of the road space, although only 20 percent of the commuting public uses these.

Delhi has over five million vehicles and another four million come to the metropolis every day from adjoining states.

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