Thursday, November 26, 2015

Patiala peg putting drivers in peril

26 Nov 2015
Hindustan Times (Chandigarh)
HT Correspondent

UNSAFE Drunk driving kills 23 persons on Punjab roads every month; offenders have a field day due to gross shortage of alcometers and traffic police personnel

CHANDIGARH: In the state that takes pride in its "Patiala peg", drunk driving kills almost 23 persons every month. Drunk driving offences, however, remain grossly underreported in Punjab. Reason: Lack of equipment and shortage of traffic cops.

In Punjab, there are eight traffic police personnel per lakh population.

For around 40 lakh vehicles plying on state's roads daily, the traffic police have just 125 alcometers or breath-analysers.

According to government data, drunk driving resulted in 442 road crashes, leaving 277 persons dead in 2014. Similarly, in 2013, of 4,588 road crash fatalities reported, 1,711 (37%) were either due to drunk driving or speeding. Police, however, booked only 0.6% of violators for these two offences.

"Actually, not even one person per district is booked/challaned for drunk driving or speeding in the state," claims Navdeep Asija, Punjab's traffic adviser appointed by the high court.

Police, on the other hand, claim that tipsy drivers were on their radar. "Traffic cops are working with dedication during night hours. Special nakas are set up to check drunk drivers and strict action is taken against the offenders," claims Amritsar police commissioner Jatinder Singh Aulakh.

According to doctors and experts, alcohol affects you in a way that changes your judgment, depth of perception, as well as vital motor skills required to drive safely.

A study conducted by University of Texas, San Antonio, reveals that people who have been drinking respond between 15% and 25% slower than when they are sober. This slowed reaction time is often the cause of accidents. Judgment is also quickly affected by alcohol. Even a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.02% can impair a person's judgment.

Apart from lack of alcometers, the state is also grappling with shortage of traffic police personnel. In Punjab, there are eight traffic police personnel per lakh population in sharp contrast to about 60 traffic police personnel deployed against per lakh population in Chandigarh.


The cash-strapped state heavily depends on revenue from the booming liquor business.

Liquor vends along national highways in the state have been blamed for most accidents.

The matter is under scanner of the Punjab and Haryana high court after a petition was filed by a Chandigarh-based NGO Arrive Safe Society.

"Liquor vends along highways do booming business. Strangely, the state government, in its affidavit, has claimed that none of the 386 vends along national highways were visible and accessible from the road," says Harman Singh Sidhu, president of Arrive Safe.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Chandigarh should pay more for parking, expert tells HC

CHANDIGARH: An expert appointed by the Punjab and Haryana high court has suggested for hike in parking charges in Chandigarh, pointing out it would help in revenue generation and force residents to lessen the use of vehicles.

The report was submitted by Navdeep Asija, who was also the Punjab government traffic adviser, before a division bench headed by Justice Surya Kant on Friday. The court had asked him to carry out a study on Chandigarh's traffic system.

Asija has said the municipal corporation (MC) proposal made in its meeting on October 29 to increase parking rates on the concept of dynamic parking system was well appreciated and based on scientific transportation engineering principles. Asija asserted parking was a commodity and not constitutional right.

"The MC is meeting only around 34% of its budgetary expenditure through internal resources generation, which was very much on the lower side. Our fixed deposits have dwindled to Rs 250 crore with an annual budget deficit of Rs 154.25 crore. This is further going to decrease as we have to invest around Rs 100 crore in the Jandpur pipeline to bring water into the city. We need to enhance our internal resource generation rather than cutting down resources like advertisement and parking," the report stated.

Criticizing the decision of the MC to disapprove the proposal to hike parking rates, Asija said such decisions only facilitate a few car owners. Referring to various orders of the high court regarding making Sector 17 car-free, Asija said such a move may kill the basic of mobility of Chandigarh.

Submitting the present parking system was highly subsidized for the 25.7% car owner households in Chandigarh, he questioned under which constitutional or legal provision such incentives were being extended to private car owners who transport 1.1 people daily on an average and take around 23 square metre of an urban space


Revenue generated from parking was used to fund zonal improvements that shift people from cars to walking, cycling and public transport all across the world. Navdeep Asija, the expert appointed by the high court, said revenue generated by 1 km of paid parking was sufficient to pay for footpaths along the same stretch and 10 buses to serve the area. At present, a car owner enjoyed free economic benefits of Rs 3,150 to 3,500 if the vehicle was parked twice in a premier commercial and residential area.

Navdeep Asija, the expert appointed by the Punjab and Haryana high court, said 57.5% households in Chandigarh have bicycles and only 25.7% own cars as per the 2011 census. According to the comprehensive mobility plan of Chandigarh prepared by RITES 2009, 17% of people in Chandigarh still walk, 11% use bicycle, 3% cycle-rickshaw, 11% buses and cars were only taking care of 15% the total trips generated in Chandigarh.

Car parking fees in top cities of the world

(Source: 2011 pricing reported in Michael Kodransky: CSE Parking Reforms for Livable city ITDP).


Amsterdam | 5 | 320

London| 4 | 256

Stockholm | 3.87 | 248

Paris | 3.6 | 231

Copenhagen | 3| 192

Barcelona | 2.85| 183

Antwerp | 2.5| 160

Munich |2.5| 160

Budapest | 2| 128

Hamburg| 2| 128

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Straw Burning Minimised in Fazilka - Vikram Ahuja

‪#‎BrandFazilka‬ - India begins here.

We all are worried about latest satellite image released by NASA on Punjab straw burning in Punjab, red dots showing burning of straw in paddy fields of Punjab. If you notice image clearly, the bottom most corner of Punjab map, which is a district Fazilka and partially Mukatsar is having all Green and there are people who made this impossible possible. Credit for this massive achievement goes to our green crusader Mr. Vikram Aditya Ahuja and team Zamindara Farmsolutions at Fazilka Anu Nagpal. Under his startup venture, he trained educated unemployed youth, imparted training, gave them set of types of equipment Bailer, Rake, Reaper and Trollies. More than 1000 young farming entrepreneurs, covering most the villages in Fazilka and Mukatsar district, now collect straw from nearby villages and send them to nearest thermal plant to produce electricity and make fields ready with direct seeding of the new crop. His work has not only benefited the environment but given employment to many. IIM Ahmedabad included his success story in their MBA program on Agri-Business. Proud moment for all Fazilites. With all that, now Fazilka is becoming a place for all social entrepreneurs. Three cheers for Team Zamindara Farmsolutions and their Team Leader Vikram. Don't worry, we are here to take care Mother Earth.