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Why didn’t you use water transport to reduce traffic, Bombay HC asks Maha govt

The judges also questioned as to how most of the taxies plying within the city are allowed to park on roads and why in certain areas like Peddar Road two/ three lane parking was allowed at night.

mumbai Updated: Mar 16, 2018 10:59 IST
Kanchan Chaudhari
Kanchan Chaudhari
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Mumbai seashore,Bombay high court
The comments came during a hearing on a public interest litigation filed by a city NGO, Janhit Manch, raising concerns over the increasing vehicular population and traffic.(HT FILE)

The Bombay high court (HC) on Thursday questioned the Maharashtra government on its failure to exploit the seashore in Mumbai to develop water transport facilities and reduce traffic congestion.

“If we are not wrong, the first hovercraft service started in Mumbai sometime in 1988, with some services to and from Gateway of India,” said a division bench of Justice Naresh Patil and Justice Girish Kulkarni. “But nothing has been done on this front in the past 30 years,” the bench said.

“You [the state] could have engaged private operators to develop water transport facilities in the city,” the judges told advocate general Ashutosh Kumbhakoni, who represented the state government. “That would have eased the pressure on road traffic and helped reduce congestion,” they said.

The comments came during a hearing on a public interest litigation filed by a city NGO, Janhit Manch, raising concerns over the increasing vehicular population and traffic. The PIL stated the lack of parking space and resultant rampant road-side parking are adding to the traffic woes.

Replying to a query of the court on parking spaces, senior advocate Anil Sakhare, who represented the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), said the civic body has granted permissions for construction of 82 multi-storey public parking lots, with a total capacity of 59,739 car parking spaces. Sakhare said of these, the BMC has already received 18 lots with a capacity of 11,086 car parking spaces, and 11 more with a capacity of 5,000 car parking spaces are nearing completion.

He said the parking lots are being developed by private entities and are handed over to the municipal corporation on completion. The corporation then appoints a contractor to manage these parking lots. Kumbhakoni, however, pointed out the traffic police have noticed that many a times lifts fitted in these parking lots do not work.

During the course of hearing on the PIL, the court said there was a need for serious discussion on the increasing vehicular population. “Mumbai already has 36 lakh four-wheelers,” said the bench, adding, “Every day, large number of new vehicles is being added to that. A serious discussion is required on what will happen after five years, where are we heading and where will this end.”

The judges also questioned as to how most of the taxies plying within the city are allowed to park on roads and why in certain areas like Peddar Road two/ three lane parking was allowed at night.

The bench has posted the PIL for hearing on April 5.

First Published: Mar 16, 2018 10:59 IST