Perhaps the only thing that’s worse than the driving situation in the city is the parking. And the two often seem to go together. Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) can straighten out the scene considerably, if it wants. But despite being in possession of 16 added parking lots for a few years now, the civic agency has seemingly been twiddling its thumbs rather than putting them to public use.
MiD DAY 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 has moved on the ground. With the number of vehicles in the city increasing with every passing day, the spots, if made available, can substantially reduce the parking space crunch. These lots have the combined capacity to accommodate 2,000 cars or 12,000 two-wheelers. The 16 parking lots, spread in various parts of the city – six in Andheri, three in Dahisar, two in Dadar, and one each in Santacruz, Ghatkopar, Borivli, Kandivli and Walkeshwar – have been handed over to the estates department, which hasn’t yet issued tenders for opening them up for public use, with proper rates and contractors to manage them.
What’s the wait for?
Additional municipal commissioner Aseem Gupta had told MiD DAY last July that the corporation would open up the spaces at ward level by issuing tenders for contractors. An official from BMC’s estates department said, “Some of the parking lots have been handed over many years back, while others, recently, under the Development Control Regulation 33 (24), wherein developers of a plot of over 1,000 sq m in the island city and over 2,000 sq m in the suburbs could avail FSI of up to four times in return for constructing about 50 public parking slots. They have been handed over to concerned units, like the maintenance department of wards as well as the market department if some are built along with markets.”
MiD DAY visited some of the lots at Santacruz, Dadar, Andheri and Walkeshwar and found that all of them are ready; some are kept under lock and key, while others are already being used by locals. The one at Santacruz (West), in close proximity of the station, is in a two-level basement at a mall. A security guard on duty said, “Parking is free in the basement and only people working in the offices or shops in the mall can place their cars here.” But when contacted, an official from the maintenance department of the H-West ward said, “The parking lot has not yet been opened for public use so the people in the mall cannot use it. The tenders have not yet been issued, due to which they have not been opened for public use.”
Taking an initiative!
The parking lot at Andheri near Juhu-Versova link road remains bolted. “I have no clue if it is opened for public use or not,” informed Ramesh Pawar, assistant municipal commissioner of K-West ward. The parking lot at J K Sawant Marg, Dadar was closed too, but management members of a mall on NC Kelkar Marg have been using it. “The lot is not BMC’s but the mall’s,” claimed a security guard of the mall. The one at Walkeshwar, built below a municipal market, was also shut. A ward officer, on the condition of anonymity, said, “We have not received any kind of notification to open the parking lots or invite tenders. We do not allow anyone to park in that place.” Additional Municipal Commissioner Aseem Gupta was unreachable as he is out of town while municipal commissioner Sitaram Kunte said he would call back. Chief engineer (roads, bridges and traffic) R Ghodke was not available for comment.