Residents of Colaba are happy with the revamp plan for Gateway of India — not because of the beautifying gardens or fountains, but because the civic body has slotted a parking lot in the utility area of the spot.
The pay-and-park lot will accommodate 45 cars and 18 taxis and drop-off bays for tourist buses. The same zone was earlier marked as a ‘no-parking zone’, with just drop-off bays for taxis and tourist buses in the earlier plan.
The BMC’s Rs 4.5 crore-beautification project is being implemented by architect PK Das on behalf of The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH).
The original plan that took off in 2007 included restructuring and barricading of gardens, creating space for food plaza, developing a planned area for water fountains, kiosks, toilets, ticket center for ferries at the entry point.
“We did a survey of the area after receiving complaints of traffic congestion from local residents and corporators. We found that the place got overcrowded with tourist vehicles and vehicles of those coming to the Taj hotel, as the area does not have proper parking facilities,” said Additional Municipal Commissioner (Projects) Anil Diggikar, who suggested the modification in the plan.
The earlier plan did not make provision for private car parking. Also, the two civic car parks — one near the monument and the other between the Royal Bombay Yacht Club and the monument — have been cleared with a loss of about 74 car spaces.
“This was done considering that the BMC had plans to build a 1,000 car capacity underground park near Regal theatre at Colaba, which is not happening now,” said Diggikar.
“This is only an expansion to the earlier plan of including drop-off bays. This will not require any state permissions, but will be done at the civic body level,” said Das.
Local residents, who had been following the revamp plan from the beginning, are happy with the proposed modification.
“There would have been hardly any place to walk along the road with double and triple row parking. This move will bring in some vigilance in the way cars are parked and will eliminate the current chaos,” said Remu Jhaveri of the Colaba Tourist Welfare Association, who also spoke on begalf of the Colaba and Cuffe Parade Residents Association.