BMC to build parking lots, pvt firm to gain? | india | Hindustan Times
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BMC to build parking lots, pvt firm to gain?

india Updated: Aug 18, 2009 01:06 IST
Sujit Mahamulkar

The municipal corporation has decided to construct seven multi-storeyed automated underground parking lots and plans to give them to a private firm, connected to the son-in-law of senior Shiv Sena leader Manohar Joshi, to maintain and operate it for 30 years.

From these parking lots, the corporation will not gain a single rupee though it will be pumping in Rs 440 crore of the taxpayers’ money.

Underground parking lots will be constructed at seven places in south Mumbai between Crawford Market and Regal cinema to ease traffic flow and decongest roads.

The proposal will be tabled before the civic Standing Committee for approval on Tuesday.

In January, the civic body had planned to construct the parking lots on a public-private partnership basis, where the contractor would have put in the cost of construction and get 30 per cent space for commercial use to derive profit.

This system had been worked out as the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) was short of funds.

However, now the BMC has decided to bear the cost of the construction — why it decided so has not yet been explained to the citizens who pay the taxes.

As per the new plan, the BMC will build the seven underground parking lots and hand them over to the private firm to maintain and operate for 30 years.

Two parking lots will be near Crawford Market and other five near Regal Cinema with 1,400 vehicles parking capacity each.

The municipal corporation has also decided to slap hefty fine for those who illegally park on roads after the parking lots are built.

“It will be wrong policy. If the BMC is giving land and spending money to construct the parking lots then, it should operate them as well. Now, the BMC will spend the money and the contractor would reap the profit. After all, it is public money,” said Surendra Srivastava, Maharashtra president of Lok Satta Party.

Anil Diggikar, additional municipal commissioner in-charge of the project, said: “We have proposed to the standing committee. It will decide now.”

Standing Committee Chairman Ravindra Waikar said: “We will decide about it in Tuesday’s meeting.”

As per the proposal that will be tabled before the civic standing committee, a consortium of Venue Infrastructure’ and WOHR Parking System Pvt Ltd, will be given the contract to construct the seven underground parking lots in 18 months and later maintain and operate them for 30 years.

The Europe-based WOHR’s website (www.wpsindia.in) says it’s a Vyas Group Venture in India and Girish Vyas is its managing director.

The company’s registered office is in Pune at Vyas Vertex on JM Road.

Joshi said: “Though Vyas is my son-in-law, he is doing his business independently and I am not related to his business. I didn’t even call any leader in the civic body to clear it.”

Vyas, however, insisted that he was not related to the project.