HC directives on parking issues yet to be acted upon
Switching over to CNG remains distant dream
JAMMU, Jan 2: Notwithstanding the repeated directions from the High Court, the Government of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir has yet not established certified yards for proper disposal of condemned/scrapped vehicles. Moreover, no policy has been framed to ban use of roads—National Highway, State Highways and city roads for parking purposes.
Vide order dated May 17, 2017, a Division Bench of the High Court had directed the Transport Department to file an affidavit to indicate as to what is being done with the registration number and registration certificates of vehicles which cross the age limit of 25 years and are declared condemned.
“The respondents are further directed to report as to in which manner the condemned vehicles are disposed of and the mechanism in place for such practice”, the DB had further mentioned in the order.
“Though every year large number of vehicles are falling in the category of condemned vehicles and are required to be disposed of in a proper manner yet the Government has not established certified yards for this purpose”, official sources told EXCELSIOR, adding “what to talk of setting up of yards even sites for the same are yet to be identified in Jammu and Kashmir divisions”.
They further said, “it would be only after identification of suitable sites that the Transport Department will decide whether the yards will be owned by the Government or the service will be outsourced”, adding “in the absence of any proper mechanism private dealers are handling the scrap in the most improper manner and resorting to unscientific practices to recover economically valuable material from the discarded vehicles”.
In response to a question, sources said that a scrap dealer should have equipments for scientific removal of hazardous vehicle components like batteries, oils, and air bags and has adequate storage facility to store the dismantled and contaminated spare parts. But, majority of the private scrap dealers lack all these equipments.
Moreover, High Court has a number of times, while dealing with the Public Interest Litigations (PILs), issued directions for framing of policy/norms with respect to registration of vehicles (both public and private) by incorporating a condition to the effect that the owner of the vehicle seeking registration has a parking space/garage space at his residence. Even directions have been issued for coming up with a policy of banning the use of roads-National Highway, State Highways and city roads for parking purposes.
“We are awaiting the decision of the Government on notifying the policy on these lines. It is the responsibility of the administration to ensure that all the roads are made free from parking”, a Division Bench of the High Court had mentioned in the order dated December 18, 2019 while observing that traffic congestion in the cities of Jammu and Srinagar has increased manifold over the years as almost every individual in every household owns a car but the roads available are still of centuries old with every few exceptions.
However, these aspects have also not received the due attention of the concerned authorities till date.
“We are having discussion on these aspects and hopefully policy will be drafted in near future”, said Transport Commissioner Dr Owais Ahmed when contacted.
In response to a question regarding condemned vehicles, he said, “we are in the process of identifying the sites for establishment of scrap yards-one each in Jammu and Kashmir divisions”, adding “it is a fact that such yards are required for proper disposal of condemned vehicles”.
The High Court in terms of order dated May 17, 2017 had also directed the Government to take steps for conversion of vehicles from petrol/diesel to CNG. However, despite lapse of more than two years nothing has come on record that would demonstrate that the respondents have seriously acknowledged the issue and taken certain measures.
“Appropriate storage facilities are required to be created for CNG before its transportation to Jammu and Kashmir but no step has so far been initiated in this regard so far”, sources said, adding “in view of complete non-seriousness switching over to CNG will remain a distant dream”.