Will you pay Rs 120 per day to park your car?

While the auto world goes wah-wah over the Nano and every new car released in the market, neither Ratan Tata nor any “expert” has yet explained how our roads and streets can cope with such a constant, relentless and unceasing vehicular influx.

The chattering classes blithely speak of having paid their taxes. Id est, it is the government’s duty, having collected the money, to build the required “infrastructure”. But in our poorly planned and designed cities, what is the solution to keep congestion at bay?

On the CNN-IBN show Devil’s Advocate, Karan Thapar spoke to Sunita Narain, the director of the Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment:

Thapar: Would you say a second important step is to charge realistic fees for parking? For instance, in Washington parking for a day costs $15, it is $30 in New York and Rs 10 in Delhi.

Narain: It is always amazing for me that we are allowing cars to come in without any regulations. Just think we go hunting for office space, we need a desk and we know how expensive it is to get that desk space. And yet the car uses 23 sq m of space—23 sq m of space! Just to give you a comparison a jhuggi, a slum-dweller’s house, takes 15 sq m of space. So tell me why is it that we are not charging for that parking at the rates of real estate?

Thapar: CSE suggested a few years ago that parking fees in Delhi should be increased to at least Rs 120 a day. Is that you something you stand by?

Narain: We basically calculated the cost of providing that parking and if you look at the multi-level parking lots that are coming up as an alternative you essentially find that to recover the cost you really need to pay Rs 30 an hour. So we tried to give a sort of slight subsidy to urban dwellers and suggested Rs 120 a day. But we know how difficult it is to get something like that? The car moves less than 10 percent of the people (but) it occupies 70 percent of the road space.

Read the full text here: ‘Ratan Tata will be a hero if he made a bus like Nano

Sir Mark Tully: It will be a disaster if India progresses like West