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Transport Policy or Lack of One Heading India towards Disaster on Pollution and Congestion

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India’s Transport Policy or Lack of One  makes you think that it is heading towards disaster both from the view of  pollution and congestion.India’s growing middle and upper class is rapidly buying cars while India’s road network barely increases and the current transport network is groaning under the strains already.Indian cities have become a veritable sea of cars chaotically congested and barely moving.There is  no coherent transport policy as India’s per capita income grows and it moves beyond hand pulled carts.While there is huge innovation on the private front with India’s domestic Tata Motors company launching a $2500 car ,the public front is still frozen.

Pollution Concerns increasing by the day

The rising number of cars with thousands being added to India’s densely populated cities has led to a constant traffic jam somewhat comparable to China’s 18 mile traffic jam.The pollution caused by these idling vehicles is horrendous not counting for the fuel wasted.There is little lack of regulation and policing as people drive with little road sense without any danger of fines or punishment.Illegal Car Parking is rampant as unplanned cities have no space for  parking of cars.Delhi the capital of India has the most number of cars and murders related to parking fights are becoming a regular feature.With India’s economy booming at 8-8.5% growth and financial inclusion increasing,buying a car has become extremely easy.Growing Traffic problems has seen some proposals like bringing a congestion tax or only allowing people with parking space to buy cars.But till now they only remain on paper.The latest symbol of aspiration “SUVs” have become a talking point as they are extremely fuel inefficient guzzling gallons of subsidized diesel.These vehicles are totally unsuitable for India’s development and even India’s environment minister has started complaining against them.However don’t expect much in India’s slow moving and almost lethargic policy making system.

Jairam’s red light may send SUVs off track – ET

Environment minister Jairam Ramesh on Friday came down heavily on the use of sports utility vehicles (SUVs) and other big luxury cars that typically run on diesel and have sub-optimal fuel efficiency, saying it is criminal to drive these cars in a country like India. In the process, he stoked a debate on subsidy on diesel—a politically incorrect issue for the country’s political class.The minister’s sharp stand on SUVs is tied to both diesel subsidies and carbon emissions. The government’s estimated subsidy bill on kerosene, LPG and diesel this fiscal is Rs 51,000 crore. While diesel is subsidised because it is widely used for irrigation by farmers and in other priority sectors, rich owners of expensive luxury vehicles that run on diesel are also unwitting beneficiaries of this subsidy.

Congestion Reachese New Heights

Traffic Congestion and Jams have become so frequent that it seems that they are a constant feature.Traveling in Indian cities has become a nightmare especially if you are thinking of traveling during peak office hours.Here are some of the regular problems arising from these congestion.Note these don’t apply to India’s business and political elite as the police clear roads during their  sojourns in the cities.It is only applicable to the common man.

1) People dying in ambulances – With miles of traffic jams,its almost impossible for ambulances to navigate a way leaing to hours long journeys.People dying in traffic jams has become a regular feature,so if you stay in India and are not part of the society elite,try and stay near a hospital.Your life may depend on it

2) Road Rage – This has become a frequent occurrence too with people getting irrationally angry and irritated during jams.This has increased incidences of road rage which frequently leads to killings.

3) Missed flights and appointments – Time bound assignments are often missed due to cray traffic congestion.Missed air flights have become common.A bonanza for India’s airline operators and a huge unsolved problem for flight takers.

4) Parking Fights – Most of Indian cities are unplanned without any parking for most houses.This leads to a huge problem in terms of illegal parking.Even Legal Parking sees fights between neighbours leading to fights and sometimes even deaths.With thousands and millions  of car hitting the roads every day and month,the problem is growing even more acute.No solution in sight as Indian politicians happily line up their pockets in corruption scams.


India’s Transport Policy is a total mess with no solution in sight.Public Transport is not given enough money or resources to make a difference while Indian auto companies are making huge profits.Construction of the recent Metro Railway to Delhi’s satellite city of Gurgaon has already been filled to capacity not reducing the pressure on the main highways which remain chock a block with cars 24 hours a day.India needs to massively invest in public infrastructure and dis-incentivize private modes of infrastructure like cars through congestion and fuel taxes.


Sneha Shah

I am Sneha, the Editor-in-chief for the Blog. We would be glad to receive suggestions, inputs & comments on GWI from you guys to keep it going! You can contact me for consultancy/trade inquires by writing an email to

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