That the BMC is a forward-thinking organisation is an accusation even its worst enemy wouldn’t make. It may be one of the world’s richest civic bodies, but its shortsightedness is not only astounding, it makes strategies of fly-by-night operators sound like they have come from Steve Jobs.
A case in point is the absurd idea of throttling parking space allocation for buildings that are close to railway stations in its new development plan 2015-2034.
The idea is a noble one to encourage people to use public transport instead of private cars to move around. But for this it makes a few daft assumptions that people use the car merely to go to the workplace and return home.
However, a family uses a car not just to go to work, but for many other purposes. Besides, given the state of public transport in the city and the utter lack of connectivity, reliance on just trains or buses to reach home is impractical.
For one, there are no feeder routes to Metro stations or the Monorail, making it a disincentive. This paper, in fact, had highlighted a few weeks ago how the closest Metro station to the international airport is nearly 2 km away from it, and even autorickshaws refuse to ply such distances.
The Mumbai Metro has not benchmarked itself with the best train services in the world, and as a result, you have to be either living or working close to the Metro stations to make use of the service. Besides, only one phase of the Metro is functional, making inter-zonal connectivity a distant dream.
The BMC’s idea to restrict parking areas also plays straight into the hands of rapacious builders who now have one more reason to use the increased FSI to build more residential apartments and increase their profits rather than providing amenities. The people who do not get parking space will be forced to park at commercial parking lots, which are a different nightmare altogether.
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Photos: Deepika Padukone, Sushmita Sen with daughters at Mumbai airport