With the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government (BJP) staying the implementation of the revised parking policy, which is aimed at promoting use of public transport, experts are unsure whether the policy will ever be implemented. They, however, feel the civic body should make amendments to make the policy suitable for citizens.
To tackle traffic congestion and illegal parking, the BMC’s general body, after much delay and debates, approved the revised parking policy on January 2 to be implemented in A ward, which includes the plush Colaba, Churchgate, Cuffe Parade and Fort areas, on a pilot basis. Under the revised policy, citizens will have to face a steep hike of up to 300 per cent in the charges they pay for parking at the civic pay-and-park lots. The policy also includes a residential permit scheme, under which the island city residents may have to cough up Rs1,800 a month per car for parking on roads.
Soon after the announcement, around 15 resident associations from the plush Colaba, Cuffe Parade locality urged BJP MLA Raj Purohit to scrap the policy entirely, which according to them is “not citizen friendly”. Facing opposition from residents of south Mumbai, the state government, on Thursday, temporarily stayed the policy and announced a public hearing on it. While the state has called the stay temporary, questions are being raised over the implementation, as the civic elections will be held in less than two years.
“We welcome the move by the state government to stay and hold public hearings. The civic body should understand they cannot execute a policy that affects citizens directly without their consent. We have drafted our concerns regarding the policy with the state and civic body. We will discuss them during the hearing,” said Subhash Motwani, member, Clean Heritage Colaba Residents’ Association.
The BMC, which had earlier planned to implement the ambitious policy from next week, is yet to work out the basic details. Its plan to monitor parking spaces using a web-based system, planned three years ago, is yet to see the light of day. The civic body also plans to conduct a lottery for allotting space for parking on roads, depending on the availability, but has failed to implement its plan of various multi-level parking lots.
“The policy is entirely new, and citizens are not in the habit of paying for use of public spaces. If the main issue is the rates, the BMC can initially reduce the charges. But providing parking space for free is unacceptable,” said Ashok Datar, a transport expert.