Fulcrum of policy, RWAs say they want more power
What the RWAs want is more power and they expect the government to come up with a policy before the parking rules — Delhi Maintenance and Management of Parking Places Rules, 2019, — are implemented.Updated: Nov 11, 2019 11:10 IST
Even as the city civic agencies gear up to implement the new parking rules in the national capital, a very important cog in the system is divided: The residents’ welfare associations (RWAs), whose co-operation is imperative for the scheme to succeed.
While most RWAs admit that parking is a serious concern in their areas and want it to be regulated, they say that enforcement will be a huge problem. The concerns include — multiple RWAs in some colonies , security when colony gates would be required to be kept open, and lack of space. Some claim that they were not taken on board while preparing the parking plan, making it “impractical”.
“A majority of people want parking to be regulated. But there are practical problems,” said Amarjeet Singh, president of Lajpat Nagar 3 RWA, where the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) is implementing the pilot project on court’s direction. “Who will check if people have parked at the demarcated space? RWAs have no power to stop people from parking and to remove a vehicle. Moreover, we can’t ensure the safety of the vehicles, as we can’t close the colony gate. We have raised these concerns with the civic agency.”
What the RWAs want is more power and they expect the government to come up with a policy before the parking rules — Delhi Maintenance and Management of Parking Places Rules, 2019, — are implemented.
RWAs are registered with the registrar of societies with the Delhi government. For the purpose, any group of people fulfilling a few certain conditions can register themselves as an RWA. This way, there can be multiple RWAs within the same colony — in some, there are RWAs for each block.
Moreover, while they are formed with the intention of looking into the concerns of a locality and to provide suggestions to this effect, they are not authorised to take any action.
“The problem of parking should have been addressed holistically. The RWAs should have been consulted while the policy was drafted. Now, RWAs will play an important role in the implementation of the policy, but the problem is RWAs don’t have much powers. For enforcement, RWAs will have to hire guards and we don’t have so much funds. Moreover, if people are made to pay for parking in colonies, they will expect the RWAs to ensure safety of vehicles, which we can’t do,” said Rajiv Kakria, convenor of Save the City, a group of RWAs and civil society members.
Prem Shankar Jha, deputy commissioner, remunerative cell at SDMC, said, “We are making all the parking management area plans (PMAPs) after consulting the local RWAs. In case there are multiple RWAs, then we will consult all of them. The rules are to help residents as it will ensure only authorised vehicles are parked inside the colony. As for enforcement, we will have mechanism in place to check that vehicles are not wrongly parked and action is taken.”
But RWA network like United Residents Joint Action (URJA), a network of RWAs in the city, are in favour of the new parking policy.
“The new parking rules should be implemented. There is a need to regulate parking in residential areas. For this, there is a need to prepare a local area plan and RWAs can assist the government. But there is a need to empower the RWAs. A policy or an Act should be made for this,” said Atul Goyal, URJA chief.
Some RWAs say that in several colonies there is no space to implement the provision of the parking rules. They are also opposed to parking being made chargeable in residential area. “There is a fear among people that parking in residential areas will be made chargeable. We are not ready to pay for parking. The government should first make a rule that only one car will be allowed per household. Moreover, in most residential colonies in East Delhi, there is very little space available on road. If the parking provisions are implemented, then there will be very little space left for parking in the colony,” said BS Vohra, president of East Delhi RWA joint Front.
While RWAs don’t want to pay for parking, transport experts say that it is a must for effective implementation of the rules. “Parking on public land, including residential areas, shouldn’t be free,” said Anumita Roychowdhury, Executive Director- Research and Advocacy, Centre for Science and Environment.