Saturday, September 24, 2011

HC tells UT to declare at least one area a ‘no vehicle’ zone- Fazilka Ecocabs

Chandigarh In a significant direction, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today directed the Chandigarh Administration to declare at least one area of the city a 'no vehicle' zone. Also, Punjab and Haryana have been directed to identify a part of any one city for the same purpose.

These directions were passed during resumed hearing of a public interest litigation (PIL) arising out of a suo motu notice taken on a news item published by The Indian Express which had highlighted the concept and advantages of ecocabs. A related PIL, arising out of another suo motu notice published by a weekly on the issue of pollution, also came up for resumed hearing today.

The High Court had taken suo motu notice of the increasing pollution in the region due to increasing vehicular pressure. The division bench remarked that some areas should be totally banned for vehicular traffic.

Suggesting Sector 17 as an option for making a no vehicular zone, the Bench observed that parking could be allowed at corners of the Sector and only rickshaws or eco-friendly cabs could be allowed to ply. The Bench said that the restrictions should be enforced for all vehicles and no vehicle, including red beacon or even High Court vehicles, should be permitted to ply in such zones.

Appearing on behalf of the Chandigarh Administration, Senior Standing Counsel Sanjay Kaushal said that efforts are being made by the UT Administration to provide cheaper public transport to reduce vehicular pressure on roads.The Bench also directed the authorities to submit the status report in this regard at the next hearing while making it clear that the entire process would be on a trial basis only.

The counsels for Punjab and Haryana too submitted reports on promoting eco-friendly rickshaws. The reports read that Haryana had issued direction to all the municipal authorities to propagate these rickshaws.The counsel for Punjab informed the Bench that about 500 such eco-cabs were already functional in different districts of the state and rickshaw-pullers were being encouraged to use these.

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