BMC again promises to open up unused parking lots, but will it deliver?

One more promise by Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) that we hoped isn’t parked in various files and then conveniently forgotten for a few years. Because it has happened before. MiD DAY reported on May 23 (‘10 months later, 2,000 parking slots buried under files’) that despite being in possession of 16 unexploited parking lots for a few years now, BMC has not put them to public use. Following this, the civic body has affirmed that the spots would be opened up soon. But, the fact remains that we had reported about the same spaces last year too (‘BMC to 2,000 vehicles: no entry’, July 18, 2011). But despite the corporation promising to set things right (‘16 parking lots will finally see light of day’, July 20), nothing changed.

“I have already asked the authorities to speed up the procedure and invite tenders to prepare these parking lots for use. The new commissioner doesn’t have much idea about this right now, but surely would do the same,” said deputy municipal commissioner (personal assistant to municipal commissioner) Sudhir Naik. He also assured that the matter would be discussed in detail and the lots would be made available as soon as possible.

Work in progress
Deputy chief engineer (traffic) RD Singh told MiD DAY the department has already sent the papers for sanction to higher authorities. “We would open up the parking lots after the authorisation by inviting tenders for contractors to manage them,” he said. The number of vehicles in the city had gone up from 17.68 lakh in March 2010 to 19.9 lakh up by December 2011. BMC has so far allotted 2,11,467 sq m of space for cars and 3,195 sq m for two-wheelers. MMRDA that owns clutches of land around the city has allocated room for 800 vehicles to be parked at the business hub of Bandra-Kurla Complex, 850 automobiles at Nariman Point and 50 at Oshiwara. MSRDC has parking lots at 17 different locations, like Jogeshwari-Vikhroli Link Road, Sion, Chheda Nagar, Elphinstone Road and Vikhroli, mainly below flyovers. BMC’s standing committee chairman Rahul Shewale said, “I am out of town but I would follow this issue up when I’m back in Mumbai. I had instructed them to deliver these lots last year also. I would take up this matter with the commissioner in another two days.”

‘Do it now’
Many Mumbaikars are tired of the endless wait. “It is the civic authority’s duty to provide parking lots for the increasing number of vehicles in the city. The other private parking lots are expensive and most motorists prefer to park anywhere, even on the roads. And if BMC has such spaces at its disposal and is not opening them up for public use, then it is not doing its job,” said activist James John.

Jitendra Gupta, member of citizen transport committee, said, “There are traffic snarls because of chaotic parking on roads and commuters themselves have to bear he brunt. The civic body does not provide adequate spaces and therefore citizens are forced to park haphazardly. BMC should open up the 16 parking lots for public use immediately as this would lessen the nuisance on roads as well as increase the civic body’s revenue.”

Mayor speaks
Mayor Sunil Prabhu, however, said if the parking lots are ready then they should become operational immediately. “People should not have to wait for parking facility. I will look into the matter,” he said. He also said BMC should try to make more parking spaces available.

I have 4 cars in Dehradun and have no problems handling them. But in Mumbai, you have as much trouble with just one car. People of Mumbai should keep their vehicles at home because BMC doesn’t care about the parking situation and the traffic is even worse.
Bhuneshwar Prasad (36), Dehradun businessman visiting Mumbai

Every now and then BMC says that it has made arrangements for parking but what is the use when it’s not open for people. For instance, Phoenix Mall has six storeys for parking, but often after going round and round through so many floors, there’s still no place. I often sit in the car to avoid paying for parking, and because you can’t trust the people at the parking lot to keep your vehicle safe.
Jinisha Oza (40), Homemaker, Sion

They should open up these lots. Who are they waiting for? They should understand how much trouble a car owner has to go through on the streets. Even traffic won’t be as much of a nuisance if these parking lots are operationalised.
Vaibhav Naik (43), Businessman, Mahim

It’s really unfair that we are paying road tax but when it accounts to payback for public service there is no output. The roads are a mess here. The BMC is meant to work for the public but we are the ones always suffering.
Poonam Vijay (46), Homemaker, Marine Drive

BMC doesn’t do anything and this news is not new for anybody. It’s a complete mess and nuisance outside on the streets. Parking, driving, and traffic — everything goes hand in hand. Especially Hill Road is the worst when parking is concerned.
Mayank Peshwani (20), Student, Bandra

Travelling in cars is an absolute nightmare, especially at Vile Parle since there is no place to park at all. If BMC wants to make money out of charging for parking then it is welcome to do so, but the corporation needs to overhaul the entire system.
Nehali Vukkadala (29), Homemaker, Vile Parle

Pay-and-park areas are always full and finding spaces by roadsides is impossible because those are also occupied throughout the day. At Crawford market we drivers have to shell out Rs 80-Rs 100 per hour and on top of that it’s illegal. But BMC has turned a blind eye towards this issue.
Ramalingam Theval (35), Taxi driver

Mumbai is a fine city, but exploring it by road is very difficult. The city is growing and so is its population. Every human being dreams of having a car, but I guess they need to dream up parking spaces too. Travelling by trains and buses is much more convenient.
Tanvi Rakshanamwam (20), Engineering student, Nagpur (here on vacation)

BMC has left us drivers no space to halt cars for five-ten minutes to answer nature’s call or to run small errands. Crawford market is one place where illegal parking is rampant and BMC takes no action. Parking your vehicle there is extremely unsafe as not only me but many others have noticed petrol being stolen from a vehicle or car batteries going missing in the absence of the driver. Travelling by a taxi is a lot more convenient for most people rather than using their own vehicles.
Ravindra Jadhav (50), Taxi driver

Parking is very expensive near Chembur’s swimming pool. I was recently charged Rs 100 for parking there for only two hours. First of all there aren’t enough legal parking spaces provided by BMC and the ones available are costly.
Gangam Babath (30), Taxi driver

Parking facilities provided by BMC are not available everywhere, so I am often forced to park on the roads. Though BMC charges us reasonably, there usually isn't any space to take advantage of such facilities.
Premal Joshi (26), Businessman, Ghatkopar

Whenever I look for parking spaces in a pay-and-park area, the parking attendant tells me that they’re full. What other option do I have than to park illegally?
Aryal Yadav (52), Driver

There's no space to park on the roads and even if I do the police catches me, so I am constantly worried about parking space. Finding, spaces at a pay-and-park centre is very difficult because attendants reserve them for regular customers. This is unfair.
Rajesh Gurav (30), Driver 

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