BMC reduces licence fees for parking lot contractors by 20%; Opposition alleges nexus
After four unsuccessful attempts to look for contractors to maintain 25 on-street parking lots across Mumbai, the civic body has decided to give a discount to contractors, by reducing the monthly licence fees by 20%.
This is the second time the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is relaxing the licence fee for contractors, which is a percentage of the estimated amount of monthly profit the contractor will make from parking charges.
For example, a parking lot in A ward’s Fort area, which is on this list of 25 parking lots, would have fetched BMC ₹20 lakh in its first bid. Due to subsequent revision of fees over the past four attempts to find a contractor, this parking lot will now fetch BMC ₹14 lakh a month in the form of licence fees, according to an officer from the civic traffic department. The parking lot has a capacity to park 610 light motor vehicles, and 272 two-wheelers.
The move has led to allegations that there is a contractor nexus working together to force BMC to reduce license fees, making maintenance of parking lots more profitable for them.
Leader of the opposition in BMC, Ravi Raja said, “The contractor nexus is deliberately not responding to BMC’s tenders. This ultimately forces BMC to refloat them by relaxing the fees. I find it hard to believe that parking lots in south Mumbai lie vacant, and are non-profitable to maintain.”
According to BMC, the main reason why contractors hesitate to take contracts is the fear that it will be non-profitable. The feedback that BMC has received from contractors shows that most parking lots lie vacant, while motorists park on the road side for free.
Municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta said, “The loss of revenue to BMC is not our prime concern. We have to bring parking discipline in the city, discourage people from parking for free, and push them to use the parking lots instead. We are working with the traffic police to ensure punitive action for motorists who park in no-parking areas. As more people begin to use the designated parking lots, it will be easier to find contractors.”