Hefty fines see slight dip in illegal parking in Mumbai
More than 20 days after civic body started imposing a hefty penalty – ranging from ₹5,000 to ₹15,000 – on vehicles found to be parked within the 500-meter no-parking radius of public parking lots (PPLs), HT reporters conducted a check at three wards in the island city and suburbs to see if the new rule has changed the ground reality.
This is what they found: While there is a marginal increase in parking at lots in L ward (Kurla and parts of Powai), F south (Parel and Worli) and K west (Andheri West and parts of Oshiwara), motorists are finding spots beyond the 500-m radius to park illegally, so they can evade the penalty. Congestion, the idea behind imposing the rule, is reducing, but slowly.
In the western suburbs, there are nine PPLs, of which three are in Goregaon alone, one in Oshiwara and one in Andheri.
According to BMC officials, use of PPLs has increased, but marginally, contrary to civic body’s expectations. Municipal commissioner Praveen Pardeshi, before the imposition of fine, had said, “The BMC considers these private vehicles and obstructions as encroachments on public roads. If a slum encroaches on public land, it is demolished… We plan to increase the number of BEST buses. We would like the roads to be free of obstacles, so BEST can function with full efficiency.”
In some cases, people continue to park illegally, but outside the 500-m radius. Some also park in no-parking zones after office hours. Local complain that as the parking charges are too high, it is not feasible to use the facility.
A case in point could be Oshiwara PPL, also known as Runwal Oshiwara PPL, which has a total capacity of more than 500, including cars and heavy vehicles. Its occupancy rate was 20-30% before July 7. After the fine, it went up to 50%. Prashant Gaikwad, assistant commissioner of K west ward, which covers the Oshiwara and Andheri PPLs, said, “The occupancy of both the PPLs has increased. The growth we are seeing maybe marginal now, but when it comes to overall city, it will increase in the coming days. It has been only 20 days that we have started levying of ₹10,000 fine. The discipline also depends on how aggressive one is at implementation. Our ward has the highest action taking rate.”
Both these PPLs at Andheri and Oshiwara are available for parking for free, considering no contractors are currently operating the PPLs.
Shivnath Marwah, a local resident, said, “Currently, not many park illegally near the Oshiwara Link Road PPL. Half the road is occupied for Metro works, and there are at least three malls in the surrounding areas, where some park their vehicles.”
Another problem the BMC claims is of two-wheelers, which were earlier parked haphazardly. BJP’s Sandeep Patel, councillor from Goregaon, which has three PPLs, said, “The BMC should target commercial vehicles. In Goregaon, on SV Road and Link Road, parking menace is mainly because of big commercial vehicles.”
There are 10 PPLs in the island city. At F/South ward, which has the only PPL with parking slots for two-wheelers, the PPL at Kalpataru Avana building at Parel, is a prime spot for officegoers. But the high charges are keeping motorists away.
Between June 12 and June 23, a total of 1,611 vehicles, 208 two-wheelers and 1,403 four-wheelers, were being parked here. Since the imposition of the fine, from July 12 to July 23, 1,882 vehicles –239 two-wheelers and 1,643 four-wheelers –were parked inside the PPL. On an average on a daily basis, 13-24 two-wheelers and 113-125 four-wheelers were parked before July 7, after which the number has gone up to 14-27 two-wheelers and 120-152 four-wheelers.
Shiv Sena’s local councillor Anil Kokil said although there has been a marginal increase in the parking, most people still prefer to park outside. “People have also realized that no action is taken after 6pm.”
The monthly pass charges in Kalpataru Avana PPL is ₹1800 for four-wheelers and ₹600 for two-wheelers. On a daily basis, three- and four-wheelers are charged ₹20 for an hour, ₹25 for 1-3 hours, ₹35 for 3-6 hours, ₹60 for 6-12 hours and ₹70 for more than 12 hours. For two wheelers, it is ₹5, ₹15, ₹20, ₹25 and ₹30,respectively.
There are seven PPLs in the eastern suburbs. Two of the public parking lots at Saki Vihar Road and Chandivali farm road saw a rise in the daily occupancy. While the one at Saki Vihar Road has seen a slow growth, the PPL at Chandivali Farm road saw manifold increase in total number of monthly pass purchases and daily passing vehicles. However, the roads outside these PPLs still continue to see illegal parking in huge numbers.
One of the supervisors at the Lodha multilevel parking lot at Saki Vihar road said, “There is a slow growth as other commercial offices in the vicinity have their own parking spaces and most of the vehicles are parked there.” This parking lot has seen 25% increase in the total number of monthly passes issued for both two- and four-wheelers.
The Boomerang parking lot at Chandivali farm road has seen a 122% increase in monthly passes. A supervisor at the parking lot said, “The number of monthly passes of parking has increased from 40-45 in June to nearly 100 by July-end. The nearby commercial buildings do not have much space and hence allow only selective employees to park their vehicles on private premises. Earlier, the entire roads outside these offices used to have illegal parking.”
Manish Valanju, assistant municipal commissioner of L ward (Kurla, Sakinaka, Powai), said, “There is a considerable difference with regards to the scale of illegal parking. Citizens are now proactively looking for PPLs. Both these roads in Powai have seen a positive difference.”
Vijay Singhal, additional municipal commissioner, who heads the roads and traffic department, said, “The implementation of the fine has definitely helped in use of PPLs and free flow of traffic. From next month, we will open BEST depots to park private tourist buses and school buses, which also cause congestion on the roads. We have already discussed the parking charges and BEST administration has approved it. This will further decongest the roads.”
AV Shenoy, member of Mumbai Vikas Samiti, a forum of transport experts, said, “A way to ensure there is maximum usage of PPLs is to allow parking of two-wheelers, despite there being no allocation. Of the 26 PPLs, only one PPL has parking space for bikes, which is not ideal. Also, a scientific study must be done on demand of PPL, comparing it with the location.”
Ahead of Rakshabandhan, a group of old-aged widows of Vrindavan have designed rakhis for Prime Minister Narendra Modi as part of the annual ritual. The specially designed handmade rakhis to be dispatched from the temple town of western Uttar Pradesh also feature the prime minister's face on them. Sulabh NGO that works with these widows has been training and assisting them for over a decade to learn different skills.
Shrikant Tyagi - the Noida politician whose claims of being a Bharatiya Janata Party leader have been denied by the BJP and who has been arrested by Uttar Pradesh Police for abusing and assaulting a woman - claimed Tuesday the woman 'is like (my) sister' and alleged a 'conspiracy' to 'politically decimate him'. Tyagi was booked Friday; he and his three associates face charges of 'outraging the modesty of a woman' against Tyagi and others.
Bengaluru police on Tuesday filed a 770-page charge sheet before the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate in an acid attack case that happened in the city in late April, news agency ANI reported Wednesday. As many as 92 witnesses have been mentioned in the charge sheet. The accused, Nagesh Babu, had been pursuing the victim for around seven years, during which he proposed marriage several times despite the victim's firm refusals.
Former West Bengal minister Partha Chatterjee, who was arrested on July 23 in an alleged job scam case, has been reading compilations of the works of writer-activist Mahasweta Devia and sermons of 19th-century saint Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa in his solitary cell at Kolkata's historic Presidency Jail now designated as a correctional home. Officials said Chatterjee has also requested a few other books on politics, economics, and law.
Delhi's air quality was in the satisfactory category on Wednesday morning as partly overcast weather was expected with a minimum temperature of 28 degrees Celsius and the maximum 37 degrees Celsius. According to the Central Pollution Control Board, the hourly air quality index was 98 at 7am. On Sunday, the average 24-hour AQI was 112 in the moderate category with PM2.5 and PM 10 being the significant pollutants.