No Car Registration Without Garage Proof In Taj City

These decisions were announced by the Taj Trapezium Authority after a meeting recently.

Divisional commissioner Pradip Bhatnagar who is the chairperson of the Authority said vehicles older than 15 years will not be re-registered. The new initiatives will be concretised by December 31, 2015.

Car owners will be required to attach an affidavit declaring they have a garage or a reserved slot in a public parking. Vehicles would not be permitted to park on public roads or parks.

TTZ includes Mathura and Firozabad districts also alongwith Agra and is spread over 10,400 sq kms. To save the Taj Mahal from air pollution an Authority was created in 1984 to clear all new projects and monitor pollution control measures.

Bhatnagar said the air pollution level in the TTZ was rising, therefore tough measures were required to control the slide.

With around five lakh vehicles registered in the district, the demand continues to grow, leading to higher level of pollution despite a series of measures taken over the years after the historic Supreme Court judgement in the MC Mehta PIL in 1996.

Centre of Science and Environment in its 2013 report has indicated that private vehicle usage in Agra will increase more than in the mega cities. While it is definitely an advantage that more people presently use buses and non motorised vehicles to commute or walk, thus helping to manage air pollution and urban mobility, unfortunately this 'walking and cycling city'  is now steadily shifting towards cars and two-wheelers as public transport remains inadequate and unequal to the demand pressure.

Several studies have highlighted the very high level of killer particles in the ambient air. Firozabad, Mathura and Agra have three times the highest critical level of PM10. NO2 is showing a rising trend; SPM and RSPM levels rising unchecked.

The numbers of cars and two-wheelers have crossed the numbers of walk and cycle trips. The city is beginning to cross the tipping point.

The city is paying a very high price due to traffic congestion on almost all roads. Traffic jams lead to fuel wastage, more pollution and serious economic losses. A normal commuting time has increased significantly during peak hours. On many arterial roads the traffic volume has exceeded the designed capacity and the service level of the roads. Private vehicle usage share in the Taj city of total motorised transport is relatively higher compared to metros. The city's private vehicle share is 48 percent, Varanasi 44 percent and Kanpur's is 37 percent. Traffic volume in Agra has crossed the designed capacity of roads which are heavily encroached upon and the surface quality is also poor.

Social activist Shravan Kumar Singh says short distances should usually be covered on foot or using bicycles, even battery-operated vehicles are a better option. Schools must be encouraged to deploy a fleet of buses to haul students from homes. This can be done by cutting on road taxes and various other levies on buses and other forms of public transport. At the moment in most Indian states buses pay more or same as private cars.

The state government which for the moment claims being cycle-friendly has to be pressured to cut down taxes on cycles and spare parts of cycles plus accessories to encourage people to purchase them.

Experts say that due to time pressure or fear of safety on roads people are being discouraged from walking, even short distances.

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