Private vehicles - the lifeline of transport in India

I agree with Swaminathan Aiyar when he says that 'sanctimonious greens call the Nano disastrous because of its affordability— millions more will now clog roads and consume more fossil fuel. This is elitism parading as virtue. Elite greens own cars, but cannot stand the poorer masses becoming mobile, since the consequent congestion will eat into the time of the elite!'

But I don't agree with him when he says that 'we must abolish subsidies and raise taxes on vehicles and fuels to reflect their full social cost. The biggest but least visible subsidy is for parking, and we should start there.'

His reasoning is flawed as his comparisons to how costly it is to maintain and use a car in the West doesn't make social sense. The Western world is blessed with a public transportation system that is widespread and accessible. Compare that to what the average citizen has to put up with, in India. Making the use of private cars costly in India will in no way affect the elite, whose pockets are pretty deep. On the other hand it will virtually bring to a halt the middle class' ability to move within and outside the cities and towns they habit.

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Published in The Hindu yesterday, Bangalore will soon be starting with the Odd/Even driving rules. Odd numbered and Even numbered vehicles will be allowed to be taken out only on alternate days.

This would not in any way reduce the disparity between the haves and the have-nots, but at least will certainly help in figthing the pollution and the traffic disorder.
Sandeep said…
I am sure by the end of next year that roads are gonna be clogged, thanks to the new Nano. This seems to be the war cry of all the so called environmentalists.Would they stop using their vehicles as a role model?

In India the public transport system is dismal.Roads are chaotic to say the least,getting from point A to point B is a pain.Most people in India are trying to make a decent living and make ends meet.
The concretes may differ for people, but the abstracts remain the same.
And now to ask them to give a serious thought to the state of the environment before satisfying desire and aspiration, is like asking a beggar to donate to charity.

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