Bangalore’s vehicle population breaches 60 lakh mark, govt struggles to control pollution

by Jaishankar Jayaramiah , 16 May 2016

Bangalore is witnessing an alarming rise in vehicle population that has led to traffic congestions and a rise in pollution levels in the garden city of India.

Data has revealed that number of vehicles on the city’s roads crossed the 60 lakh mark recently and according to government sources, this has transpired thanks to an estimated addition of around 5 lakh vehicles each financial year.

As in February 2016, the number of ‘non-transport’ vehicles like two-wheelers and cars in Bangalore city had reached 54.67 lakh units. According to data available with Karnataka Transport Department, two-wheeler segment is the major contributor to the growing vehicle population.

Number of two wheelers on city roads crossed the 41.86 lakh mark, followed by cars at 11.8 lakh, while the number of transport vehicles like light and heavy commercial vehicles stands at over 5.91 lakh.

The city has witnessed a steady increase in the number of vehicles being registered in recent years. The total registration of vehicles increased to 60 lakh by February 2016 from 55.59 lakh in March 2015 and 41.56 lakh in March 2012.

Subsequently, at least 1 lakh more vehicles have been added to this tally in March. With this alarming rise in vehicles, the state government is looking to take various measures to control traffic and air pollution.

It may be noted that in 2014, the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) was pulled up by the Karnataka High Court over rising pollution in the city, which led KSPCB to direct the Transport Department to restrict registration of new vehicles in Bangalore until noise levels and air quality standards were met. Talks have also been on at the Central level to levy a ‘congestion tax’ on purchase of more than one vehicle, among others. But nothing has fructified due to various reasons. 

According to Transport Commissioner Rame Gowda, “Though there is ‘thinking’ on these lines, it was still at a preliminary stage. For any of this to be done, the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 has to be amended.”

While Transport Department is struggling to control the impact of rising number of vehicles, the traffic police is also bearing the brunt with the frequent traffic snarls that Bangalore has become infamous for.

R Hitendra, Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic), agreed that “traffic management is increasingly becoming challenging.”

Adding to woes are private taxis, which are now a popular mode of transport in the city in recent times. In the past four years, the taxi population has more than doubled in the city.

The number of cabs in Bangalore crossed 1.05 lakh from 46,235 in March 2012. In the past one year alone, Bangalore added 24,000 taxis. 

Now the government is discussing various options to control the traffic including the odd-even formula, which was implemented in Delhi, along with a new sensor-based traffic signal system, sources added. 

Also read: 

India has the most polluted cities in the world: 33 out of 100

Indian auto industry calls for clear roadmap to tackle pollution


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