Centre writes to states, mulls ‘congestion tax’ in central business dists

The urban development ministry has asked all states and their police chiefs to identify the most congested parts of their cities in a first step towards decongestion. The ministry hopes to replicate models followed in London and Singapore to discourage the use of private vehicles in central business districts, and to make public transport an acceptable alternative, officials said.

The ministry has suggested that bicycles be used widely in these areas, with better public transport and pedestrian paths.

The urban development secretary wrote to chief secretaries and DGPs earlier this month asking them to consider adopting a "congestion charging system".

"Excessive use of private vehicles on limited road space is inefficient... There is need to discourage use of private vehicles in selected core areas of the city to increase mobility of people at large... without losing valuable working man hours," Secretary Sudhir Krishna said.

The ministry feels "it is human nature that if a good service is provided free of charge, people tend to demand more of it more wastefully than they would if they had to pay a price that reflected its cost."

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