If you thought the parking charges would be the same for everyone in the city, you might be mistaken. The corporators who recently passed a proposal to increase parking charges in Mumbai next year onwards, wish to get a plum discount for themselves.
MiD DAY had reported about the green signal given to the proposal by the Improvements Committee of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (‘Proposal to hike parking rates cleared’, December 27). According to the plan, four-wheelers will have to pay a minimum of Rs 60 per hour in the island city, which is a three-fold hike as compared to the current rates.
Chairman of the Improvements Committee Ram Barot has demanded a concession in parking charges for corporators
Though there is no specific mention of an exemption to corporators, Ram Barot, the chairman of the Improvements Committee, feels they should get a 50 per cent waiver on the parking charges in the pay-and-park scheme. “As the people’s representative, a corporator should get at least 50 per cent concession in parking charges, because he has to visit various places in the city for public work. I will speak to senior officials about the matter.” said Barot.
'Earn the right'
Citizen activist bodies erupted over the matter and condemned the elected representatives, saying they had no right to claim benefits if corporators didn’t show results. “They contested elections to serve and not to enjoy benefits at the cost of public money. What have they done? They do nothing to get rid of encroachment, or work of betterment of roads, footpaths and civic infrastructure. Where is the accountability? Show results first. Benefits come later,” said G R Vora, a member of F/North Ward Citizens’ Forum.
MiD DAY report
The Oshiwara Lokhandwala Residents Association was against paid parking altogether. Ashok Pandit, the chairperson of the body, told MiD DAY, “I am totally against the basic concept of paying for parking. This is another route to corruption. Tomorrow, the BMC will charge people for standing on roads. Is the BMC so poor? Common people are already paying lots of taxes to the government and the BMC. We will approach the courts over the matter, if need be.”
Opposition parties in the BMC spoke up against the issue. “There should not be any discrimination between a common man and an elected representative. The rule should be the same for all,” said Devendra Amberkar, opposition leader from the Congress in the BMC. MNS leaders extended the equality of the law to all, saying there shouldn’t be any exemption to anyone, if corporators had no reduced charges.
Sandeep Deshpande, MNS leader in the BMC, said, “We are ready to pay parking charges, provided all BMC officials like assistant municipal commissioner, deputy municipal commissioner and other senior officials using the red beacon cars also pay up.” The icing on the cake was an observation by a corporator who didn’t wish to be named, who said, “I don’t think they pay parking charges, even when they are liable to do so.”
The BMC administration doesn’t seem to be keen on providing any such benefits. SVR Srinivas, additional municipal commissioner, who is also in charge of Roads and Traffic department of BMC, said, “There is no such thing in the policy where the corporators will be exempted or will have to pay less than what the common public has to pay. We have not considered any such thing as of now and nothing has come to me yet. We will decide upon it after a proposal comes up.”
Revised parking rates
The revised parking rates are a step to reduce congestion, primarily in south Mumbai, and also in the rest of the city. The BMC has divided parking lots in three categories based on business, the average revenue it generates from a particular slot and timing of parking. The busiest slots are put together in ‘A’ category, while the lesser and least busy are divided in ‘B’ and ‘C’ categories respectively.
Parking fee for one hour for 4-wheelers in popular areas
Parking fee for one hour for 2-wheelers in popular areas