Ever since the Delhi High Court
gave a historic judgement in the PIL filed by Manushi on behalf of cycle
rickshaw pullers, asking the Delhi Government to treat eco friendly
Non-motorized vehicles (NMVs) as an integral part of city traffic instead of
treating them as an unwanted nuisance, Manushi has been battling to get that
order implemented. It took nearly 3 years to get the municipal agencies
and police to stop confiscating cycle rickshaws and also legalize their existence
by setting up a system of open registration.
When it came to providing
“equitable road space” to NMVs, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi and the
Delhi Police did all they could do sabotage the Delhi High Court orders.
Despite persistent badgering by the Court, they refused to create NMVs
lanes. Delhi Police went further and banned the entry of rickshaws in
most parts of the city. They also appealed against the High Court order
in the Supreme Court. Fortunately, the Supreme Court did not yield ground and
upheld the High Court Order in favour of NMVs. But the sabotage continued
despite an ongoing contempt petition filed by Manushi against Delhi Police and
MCD for sabotaging the reformed cycle rickshaw policy even while its
implementation was being monitored on a monthly basis by the High Court.
We were beginning to fear that
the present bench of judges—Justice Ravindra Bhatt and Justice Murlidharan-
would get worn out by steadfast attempts at sabotage and delay tactics adopted
by the Delhi Government in this matter. But on September 30, 2014 the
Union Urban Development Ministry came to our rescue and has ordered the Delhi
Government in no uncertain terms that NMV lanes must be created on all arterial
roads without delay. Here is a Times of India report on
Provide Non-Motorized Vehicle Lanes
"There Should be No Delay" in Offering the on all Arterial Roads in City, Ministry Tells HC
Report by: Abhinav Garg
NEW DELHI: Backing non motorized vehicle lanes in Delhi, the union urban
development ministry has told Delhi high court that such lanes must be provided
on a priority basis across the capital.
In an unambiguous affidavit filed in HC, the ministry has also brushed aside
Delhi government's opposition to NMV lanes saying there should be no further
delay in providing such lanes on all arterial roads.
"Instead of waiting for NMV tracks to be constructed throughout the city,
NMV lanes must be provided on a priority basis in phases. Not providing NMV
lanes on arterial roads, or prohibition of NMVs on these roads is against the
policy of Govt of India," the UD ministry affidavit says.
The Centre's stand is in complete contrast to Delhi government's approach on
allowing NMV lanes, especially in Chandni Chowk. The state government has
argued it is "impractical" to have such a lane on main road in this
"GoI is of the view that while allocating right of way, NMVs must be
treated at par with motorized transport. The right to use road,a public
infrastructure, shouldn't be determined by ownership of a motorized vehicle.
Relegating NMVs to an inferior position with respect to motorized vehicles,
creates unnecessary hurdles in mobility and earning livelihood for cyclists and
those who ply cycle rickshaws/NMVs," the affidavit says further.
The UD ministry also points out that problems of congestion, accidents and road
traffic flow are all addressed by providing segregated right of way to NMVs
arguing that "instead of considering NMVs as a source of problems, it
should be recognized as an environment -friendly mode of transport that must be
An HC bench had sought the Centre's stand as court is monitoring implementation
of series of orders given on a petition filed by Manushi Sangathan on reducing
traffic congestion in the city.
In its latest hearing held on Friday, the court was informed by advocates
Indira Unninayar and Kirat Randhawa on behalf of Manushi that obstruction by
the Delhi government has stalled 6 pilot projects for NMV lanes for over 7
years since MPD 2021 came into force.
"It is urged that Delhi government and other respondents are perversely
attempting to wear down this Court and 'various stakeholders' in the
matter," a short affidavit filed by Manushi founder Madhu Kishwar said.
In 2010 HC had given a landmark order forming a Special Task Force (STF)
"to explore questions and make recommendations to promote the objectives
of ensuring equitable access to all kinds of vehicles including NMVs,
minimizing the harmful impact on the environment, smoothening the flow of
Posted on 7th October 2014