The National Green Tribunal on Friday asked authorities in 122 cities, including Delhi, which lack ambient air quality, to curtail registration of vehicles there if they do not have adequate parking space and instead upgrade the public transport there.
"All public places and roads cannot be converted into parking places without any regulatory measures. Planning on this aspect is a condition precedent for compliance of environmental norms. Parking can be allowed only at designated places. Stringent measures must be taken by statutory authorities including the traffic police against any such parking," the bench said.
The tribunal made it clear that the direction must be enforced not only for Delhi but for all 122 non-attainment cities, which do not meet the national ambience air quality parameters, in the country.
The green panel asked transport departments of all states and Union territories to assess the available parking capacities in the 122 cities and determine the number of vehicles which can be accommodated in the available parking space there.
In case the number of vehicles exceed the capacity, there should be an action plan for providing adequate additional parking space, the tribunal said.
"If it is not possible, the number of vehicles to be registered must be curtailed by using appropriate economic disincentives or otherwise and alternative provided to the citizens in the form of public transport system.
"If these steps (declaring the capacity of number of vehicles and designating parking spaces, prohibiting unregulated parking at public places) are not taken, this Tribunal may have to take coercive measures for protection of environment including direction for limiting registration of any new vehicles in the said cities," the NGT said.
Concerned over the threat posed to limited natural resources due to their overuse, the NGT had directed for assessment of carrying capacity of 122 cities, including Delhi, where air quality does not meet the National Ambient Air Quality Standards.
The concept of "carrying capacity" addresses the question as to how many people can be permitted into any area without the risk of degrading the environment there.
The tribunal had said the Ministry of Urban Development in coordination with the Central Pollution Control Board, the Ministry of Transport and other authorities such as Planning Commission and states may carry out such a study with the help of experts.
The NGT had said Delhi is over-polluted and figures quite high in the rank among the most polluted cities and there is no study about the capacity of the city with respect to the extent of population which can be accommodated and number of vehicles which can be handled by its roads.