Vehicular congestion cannot be a reason to lay waste to East Kidwai Nagar redevelopment:HC

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New Delhi, Feb 11 (PTI) The 'exponential' and 'alarming' rise in traffic in the national capital, while a problem, cannot be a reason for laying waste the East Kidwai Nagar redevelopment project, the Delhi High Court said on Thursday.

Justice Navin Chawla said that the 'ever growing problem' of vehicular congestion required authorities to be 'proactive' and 'vigilant' to find solutions to the same.

The observations by the court came while declining to interfere with the redevelopment project which has been opposed by some residents of the nearby South Extension-II colony.

The South Extension-II residents had contended that the project was granted approval without a proper traffic assessment. They had argued that since the project was in proximity of AIIMS, Safdarjung Hospital and situated on the portion of the Ring road, which is already saturated with vehicular movement, 'efforts should have been made to answer the traffic issues before sanctioning the redevelopment and not post facto'. The court said that the 'exponential increase in the traffic within the city being almost at an alarming rate, is a matter of general knowledge. The concerned authorities have to be proactive in answering the same. This would require a constant vigil by them'.

It further said, 'There cannot be a one-time measure that can answer this ever growing problem; there cannot also be only one solution to the same; it would require a consolidated integrated solution in the form of increase and betterment of public transport facilities and disincentivizing of private mode of transportation. The success of metro in this is again for all to see. 'More of such projects are required. At the same time, it cannot be said that while all this is being studied and measures are being taken, the project, which is nearing completion must be laid to waste. The answer would be to find a solution.' The court further observed that with 'mounting population pressure, ever rising number of private vehicles, constraint of space and unplanned development, the city is slowly losing its charm', but that cannot be a reason enough to stop all development/redevelopment in the city.

'At the same time, such projects of development and redevelopment must be planned in a manner that the further stress on the infrastructure is minimized. In fact, they should add to quality of life rather than destroying it,' the court said.

'In view of the above, while the project cannot be faulted at the sanction stage, the respondents are directed to ensure a time-bound and expeditious completion of the work that have been highlighted and mentioned herein above. There must also be strict implementation of the measures that are suggested by the Unified Traffic and Transportation Infrastructure (Planning and Engineering) Centre in this regard,' it added.

The court further said that it has to be ensured that for lack of parking space in the colony, vehicles are not parked outside on the main or the arterial roads. 'Strict policing and zero tolerance to violation should therefore, be a norm to be followed in the vicinity of this project,' it said and added that organisations which have taken office space in the project should be encouraged to reduce footfall of general public, incentivize use of pooled modes of transport by employees and also opt for public mode of transportation. PTI HMP RKS RKS