Directs UT administration to consider phase-wise implementation in pedestrian-friendly areas

Posted on 3rd March 2012 in Hindustan Times
In order to convert some areas of Chandigarh into 'no vehicle' and pedestrian friendly zones, the Punjab and Haryana high court has suggested to the UT administration to define a portion of Sector17 and entry of vehicles in the area.

The division bench comprising justice Surya Kant and justice Ajay Tewari on Friday ordered Chandigarh's senior standing counsel Sanjay Kaushal to first consider the area of Sector-17 E starting in front of Lyon's restaurant on one end to Sahib Singh and Sons showroom at the other as 'no-vehicle zone' atleast after 4pm.

Observing that the administration had failed to comply its earlier directions of making sector-17 as vehicle free zone, the bench made it clear that if the administration fails to take any steps on the subject, the court shall start commanding the orders from the next date of hearing. Granting an opportunity to Kaushal so as to seek instructions from the concerned authorities in the matter, speaking for the bench justice Surya Kant said that the administration should convert some areas in each sector as traffic free zones starting from northern sectors in a phased manner and without any discrimination. Hearing a case of increase in traffic congestion in various cities of Punjab and Haryana including various sectors of Chandigarh justice Surya Kant said, "Every new concept has teething problems but we have to think in larger terms." The bench also directed the Chandigarh administration to take appropriate steps to ensure proper parking areas in the city. Directions were also issued to Navdeep Kumar Asija, who was instrumental in introducing eco-friendly rickshaws in Fazilka (Punjab) to conduct study of various cities in Punjab and Chandigarh starting from Ludhiana and to recommend city specific suggestions for decongestion of traffic.

Appearing for Asija, advocate APS Shergill asserted that court directions are necessary in the matter or else if left to the concerned authorities they would take their own sweet time to show any progress. However, advocate Rita Kohli
appointed as amicus curiae (friend of court) by the court informed that after her visit to various cities including Sirhind and Ludhiana, she found that the state authorities had failed to keep their commitment of making vehicle free zones and introduction of eco-friendly rickshaws.

She asserted that no boards, chains stopping the vehicles from entering a particular area have been put by the authorities and people are not aware of no vehicle zones across the city.

On this, the bench directed that if the authorities are facing difficulties in implementation of schemes then they should come out with real facts before the court and not try to befool the judiciary.

The court also observed that there was a need to appoint nodal agencies at district levels for better co-ordination between the municipal bodies and police authorities.

The case would now come up for hearing on March 7.

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