The dark side of a booming vehicles market in India

Destination, pollution to affliction

Business & Politics

News - India & You

August 25, 2016

/ By / New Delhi



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Registration of vehicles, as of 2015, was recorded at approximately 20 million – including re-registration of vehicles – in India. Due to dilapidated public transport, the demand for private vehicles is at an all-time high. The alarming rate of vehicles is adding to the traffic congestion and abominable air quality, thus leading to serious health issues.

The recorded number of vehicles in 2015 were 19,607,753 and that in 2014 were 19,433,096, showing a growth of 174,657 vehicle in India. And since the country is in an economic catch up phase, the future looks bright for the Indian vehicles market.

According to Urban transport expert N Ranganathan, a 7 pc growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) usually result in a 10 pc increase in demand of private transport, reports Indian daily Times of India (TOI). The main mode of public transport in Indian cities is bus and local train and in some metro rail, like Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, and Hyderabad.

For instance, technical difficulties develop frequently leading to bunching up of trains and overcrowding at stations, thereby causing inconvenience to commuters. “Indian metro system is new and clean but often handicapped with delays, especially during rush hour in trains that are already overcrowded”, told MIG a French professional living in New Delhi.

Out of the total demand for vehicles, demand for two-wheelers account for three quarters as it is affordable and the cost is less than that charged by public transports, said a transport ministry official quoted by Indian media.

Indian state tops the chart

A study led by Dr. Pramila Goyal of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi’s Centre for Atmospheric Studies states two wheelers contribute between 40% and 60% of the total pollution from vehicles.

According to World Health Organization (WHO), among the world’s 20 most polluted cities in the world, 13 are in India and Delhi tops the list. A study from the Kolkata-based Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute stated that 64 per cent of Delhi’s children suffer from lung function impairment and 71.4 per cent individuals display respiratory disorders.

According to a report by Open Government Data (OGD) Platform India in 2016, pollution from Automobiles in India is due to: immense population in the country which make already a big market for vehicles, even if in a catch up face compared to the US and Europe; faulty traffic management systems and frequent jams; bad road conditions; and adulterated fuels.

Other contributors to pollution are emissions from heavy vehicles, road and construction dust, and polluting industries, that are addressed as bigger concerns by critics, who complained that Delhi government’s odd-even road rationing policy targets private cars.

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