It’s World Tourism Day, and the BMC’s manner of celebrating it is rather outlandish -- instead of improving amenities and stepping up on publicity to woo tourists to the city, the civic agency has decided to reduce parking rates in South Mumbai over the weekends. While the island city already has to face heavy traffic on weekdays, BMC’s harebrained idea will affect its traffic situation even on weekends.
On weekends, the parking rates in south Mumbai will be just one fourth of the rates that are charged on weekdays. Experts, however, are of the opinion that this move is going to cause huge problems to many citizens, as it is likely to cause traffic chaos.
The BMC also plans to reduce overall traffic by charging private vehicles more for parking on weekdays in South Mumbai. Public transport like taxis, however, will be given parking at concession rates. The rates at different parking lots will vary from area to area.
The civic body also plans to have different charges for different vehicles, instead of standard rates. The new parking policy is part of the civic body’s plan to ease traffic congestion and encourage use of public transport, and will be tabled before the improvement committee.
Under the new policy, attempts will be made to create more parking spaces in the city, and implement new technology to ensure their smooth functioning. It also includes plans to not allow parking of cars near educational institutions.
Sunil More, a standing committee member, said, “The parking policy plans were discussed in a meeting with the standing committee members, in which it was decided that on weekends, parking charges will be one fourth of the regular rates. Also, no parking will be allowed outside the education institutions.”
Municipal Commissioner SVR Srinivas said, “We are thinking on charging the parking charges according to the area of the parking lot and not have a standard rate for all the areas and also the rates will be varied according to the type of vehicle. To boost tourism in south Mumbai we are planning to have less rates than the normal rates on weekends than the ones that would be charged on the weekdays.”
Transport experts speak
Sudhir Badami, a transport expert, said, “The whole idea is impractical and the BMC must be implementing it for their own benefit, as there is much traffic in the city. In spite of giving relief to citizens by reducing the prices, they are attracting more air and noise pollution.”
Nitin Dossa, president of Western India Automobile Association, said, “WIAA highly objects to the plans of the BMC to have higher rates for private vehicles in South Mumbai. This means that the BMC wants private vehicles to be stopped plying. We will discuss this issue with the commissioner. They should consult us before making any such decision.”
This world tourism day, save water
The theme for World Tourism Day this year is ‘Tourism and Water: Protecting our Common Future.’ The theme has been chosen in support of the United Nations International Year of Water Cooperation.
While official celebrations will take place in The Maldives today, United Nations World Trade Organisation has been addressing the many links between tourism and water all year.