BMC puts breaks on Bombay Gymkhana parking

Members of swish SoBo club told pavement outside is off limits for parking their cars

The swish set that frequents one of South Mumbai’s premier membership-only clubs, Bombay Gymkhana, are a harrowed lot after a diktat from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has prevented them from parking their vehicles on the broad pavement that stretches on either side of the porch that marks the entry to the club opposite Fashion Street.

The footpath outside Bombay Gymkhana cleared of cars. Pic/Bipin Kokate
The footpath outside Bombay Gymkhana cleared of cars. Pic/Bipin Kokate

The rule, say miffed members of the 140-year-old institution at MG Road, Fort, is forcing them to keep their cars at home or find alternate parking space since July 24. Members say they have been parking their cars at the spot for over 20 years in slots earmarked especially for them on either side of the club gate against a fee the institution paid to the civic establishment.

Those with self-driven vehicles prefer to take a cab to the club, says one “livid” member. Those with chauffeurs are better off. Incidentally, members pay approximately R1,000 annually to the club towards parking charges. A member, who didn’t wish to be named, said the problem had arisen last year too and parking had been stopped, but was later allowed.

The managing committee is being blamed for not arriving at an amicable solution with the BMC. Another member, requesting anonymity, said, “Several of the members are aged, and for them to run around for parking isn’t feasible. If there is a function at the club during the monsoon, we have to walk quite a distance in the rain. The committee should give us clarity on the issue.”

In response, all municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta said, “The Bombay Gymkhana has to renew its parking contract with the BMC.” Club president, D Udwadia did not respond to calls sunday mid-day made to his office. Earlier though, the club’s CEO RN Renjen had sent three notices to members informing them of the issue.

On July 24, members were sent a notice that read: “Members are informed that the BMC, all of a sudden, has decided not to allow car parking facilities for the members on the MG Road parking area and the entrances have been blocked this morning with immediate effect. As the Members are aware, the matter has been under discussion with the BMC for some time. It would be our effort to resolve this issue as early as possible.”

A second email was sent on July 30. It said: “Members are advised that the discussions with the Municipal Corporation are in progress in regard to Pay & Park facilities on the MG Road and it is proposed to hold an Open House Meeting shortly to apprise the Members in regard to the Pay & Park issues at the Gymkhana.

The date of the meeting will be communicated in due course.” On August 18, members were informed that the matter was “still under discussion with the BMC for suitable alternative parking arrangements.”

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