New Delhi: Urban development minister S Jaipal Reddy on Wednesday criticized Indians for treating cars as status symbols. Reddy argued that the government could not stop people from buying cars but must design policies that discouraged buying of cars and promoted use of public transport. Reddy asked the states to consider imposing a road congestion tax on private vehicles to encourage public transport and check vehicular pollution in cities.
To a question on plans to introduce measures like congestion tax on private vehicles, Reddy said, “These are matters to be thought over and decided upon by the state governments. But having regard to size of cities, every state must think of measures like congestion tax.” Calling Indians “car maniacs”, he said, “Upwardly mobile classes are crazy about cars. Car is a status symbol in the country and this state of car mania can be done away with only in a subliminal way and not by the government.”
Reddy highlighting that over 1 lakh people were killed in road accidents every year, the minister asked the authorities to take due care of pedestrians. “Roads in the country are extremely cruel to pedestrians. The foot over-bridges are so intimidating that people prefer to cross the roads rather than use them. These are small things, which have to be taken into consideration,”
The government could not stop people from buying cars but must design policies that discouraged buying of cars. He criticized Indians for treating cars as status symbols and asked to impose restrictions like ‘one car for one family. Imposing road congestion tax on private vehicles will encourage public transport, reduce vehicular pollution in cities and discourage buying of cars.