The pay and park issue created a stir in the PMC general body meeting (GB) yesterday. The meeting saw Congress corporators switching sides with the Shiv Sena, BJP and MNS, and joining hands with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) regarding this scheme. Earlier Congress supported the Shiv Sena, BJP and MNS in dismissing the proposal permanently, but later changed its mind. The proposal of introducing the pay and park scheme on 15 main roads in the city will will now be discussed in the next months GB.
In the last two months, party leaders and Standing Committee of the PMC failed to arrive on a consensus on the issue of imposing parking charges on both two and four-wheelers. Every time the proposal came up for discussion, it received strong opposition from the Shiv Sena, BJP and MNS.
In a sudden turn of events, Congress corporators including party leader Arvind Shinde, who initially supported the opposition, joined the ruling Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) in postponing the discussion on the topic in the next GB rather than dismissing it permanently.
After the pay and park proposal was discussed, NCP leader,Subhash Jagtap, was firm on getting it approved. However all other party leaders and corporators were hell-bent on opposing it.
Congress corporators who were against the proposal included senior Congress councillor Aba Bagul, Arvind Shinde andAvinash Bagwe. All of them demanded the dismissal of the proposal.
However, after the proposal made it to the voting round, Congress city chief, Abhay Chajed entered the scene after which things changed much to every one’s surprise. The proposal of dismissing the pay and park proposal was rejected with 44 against 36 votes immediately after Congress decided to join hands with the NCP.
Bagul was the only one who continued to remain firm on his stand to oppose ‘pay and park’, and even voted in favour of dismissing the proposal. “I am remaining firm on my stand to oppose ‘pay and park’. I don’t care what the party thinks about it,” he said. Other Congress corporators, especially opposition leader Shinde, who initially gave an aggressive speech explaining why it is necessary to dismiss the pay and park proposal, changed his decision at the last moment after Chajed intervened.
Earlier Bagwe said, “Rather than implementing pay and park on city roads PMC should first fully utilise the plots reserved for parking in the city. At many places commercial complexeshave come up on the PMC plots reserved for parking purposes.”
Republican Party of India (RPI) corporator Siddharth Dhende said, “We don’t have any objection over implementing pay and park to four-wheelers. On the other hand, as the public transport is worst in the city, people having no option but to use two-wheelers. That’s why parking should remain free for two-wheelers.”
According to the proposed pay and park policy, two-wheelers would have to pay Rs 3 for the first hour and Rs 5 for every subsequent hour. Four-wheelers would be charged Rs 10 for the first hour. If the plan is approved at the GB, it would be implemented on Laxmi Road, Bajirao Road, Tilak Road, Shivaji Road, Shastri Road, Karve Road, Jangali Maharaj Road, Fergusson Road, Modern College Road, Nehru Road, Baner Road, Paud Road, Ganeshkhind Road, Ambedkar Road, and Colonel Tarapore Road.