Despite complaints, police, BMC ignore illegal parking at Tejpal Road
Jaimini Patel emailed the DGP and CP with evidence of how the vehicles continued to be parked on the street despite such a heavy challan amount pending and how the traffic police was not impounding the vehicles
MUMBAI: Ten years ago, when Jaimini Patel and her family made a retirement plan to return to India and live in Gowalia Tank, they had not imagined what a nightmare it would be.
The upscale area’s Tejpal Road, adjoining August Kranti Maidan, is a mess of encroachments and multiple cars parked on both sides of the street, making the simple act of walking an impossible and dangerous task for residents of the area. The cars are parked horizontally instead of vertically to create more parking spaces, which makes it very difficult for even two vehicles to be driven on the road at the same time.
“The illegal parking lot is managed by slum dwellers living opposite our building,” 66-year-old Patel told HT. “My son and I have been at the receiving end of harassment from them because of my complaints to the authorities.”
Patel has written over 100 letters to the police, traffic police and the BMC, and also regularly shares images of the area’s traffic jams on Twitter. When the police failed to come up with a permanent solution to the issue, she used various online platforms to find out how much some of the illegally parked cars and tempos owed the Mumbai traffic police as fines. She also emailed the DGP and CP with evidence of how the vehicles continued to be parked on the street despite such a heavy challan amount pending and how the traffic police was not impounding the vehicles.
In September 2022, Patel received a detailed response from the Tardeo traffic division on her complaint via the platform Aaple Sarkar. The response of the police stated, “In this regard, continuous action is taken against unauthorised parking vehicles. We ourselves raise 100 to 150 challans every day on vehicles violating traffic. There are old buildings on Tejpal Road, and they do not have their own parking. Local residents park their vehicles on the road. There is double parking on the said road if parking space is not available at night.”
The traffic police added that action was taken against 560 vehicles illegally parked on Tejpal Road that year. Patel, however, said that 560 challans in nine months was just not enough. “With more than 50 cars, hundreds of bikes and so many tempos parked on the road, the traffic police is letting the culprits go scot-free,” she said.
The senior citizen alleged that local residents paid the slum-dwellers and encroachers to manage their illegal parking on the street. “The slum dwellers have even started a federation and distributed stickers for the cars,” she said. “The tempos are parked right in front of the bus stop. The police are hand-in-glove with them all. Only two cars are towed every day, and those too are not the ones managed by the illegal parking mafia.”
Patel is now fearful about going down for a walk after she and her son were threatened by the slum dwellers managing the illegal parking. “They called me and said come with us to Byculla, we will show you what we can do,” she said. “Once they even threatened to throw acid on our faces if we did not stop complaining. We always wanted to return to India but despite having a property worth crores, we cannot live peacefully.”
When HT visited the spot, both sides of the road had parked vehicles, with double parking in a few places. Residents have had to put bollards on the road in front of their gates so that they can move out. At the corner of the road, multiple tempos are parked, reportedly especially at night, blocking the road even more.
HT contacted Sharad Ughade, assistant commissioner of D ward, but he did not respond.