Mumbai: It's BJP vs BJP over parking policy in Colaba
Parking has caused a rift within the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), pitting a Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) against a party corporator. Colaba MLA Raj Purohit has taken up the cudgels to support citizen demand to roll back the BMC’s recently passed parking policy, which proposes a four-fold hike in parking charges.
MLA Raj Purohit claims local residents approached him and asked him to help them oppose the new pay-and-park policy
The party’s group leader in the BMC, Manoj Kotak, however, feels the plan is good for Mumbai. For a week, Purohit has been protesting in Colaba against the policy, which asks citizens to pay 300 per cent more for parking their vehicles on the road outside their residential societies.
In fact, he even approached Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis with his complaints, instead of contacting Kotak, who represents the party in the BMC. Kotak has also not made any efforts to get in touch with his former boss Purohit is an ex-chief of Mumbai BJP. “Colaba Residents Association is opposing it.
They contacted me and told me: ‘This is injustice. You are our MLA and hence we approached you. The BMC never took us into confidence about this policy.’ This is a democracy and the BMC should have contacted advanced locality managements (ALMs) and NGOs,” Purohit said.
Asked why he didn’t approach Kotak, he said, “This was the (civic) commissioner’s decision and he never informed any MLA. This pay-and-park policy will lead to goondaism. I met the CM and briefed him about the situation. He has asked the minister (MoS Urban Development Ranjit Patil) to look into it.
I will meet the CM tomorrow (Wednesday) again. I went to the commissioner also. This is an administrative issue, not a political one. Why should anyone else be contacted?” According to the policy, parking lots will be auctioned to contractors, who will then collect parking charges. Purohit feel this will lead to goondaism.
“If there is an auction, it will involve muscle power especially when it is related to pay-and-park. This will lead to mafia raj and they (contractors) will start making their own rules. The roads belong to people and they are parking their own cars. The BMC should, instead, remove encroachments from footpaths.”
On the other hand, Kotak claims the policy is for the good of Mumbai. “Till date, we haven’t received a single letter from Raj Purohit, nor do we have any information. If there is some issue that is concerning citizens, we will reopen the proposal and think on it. A few locals may have approached him (Purohit) because he is a public representative.”
Advocating for the policy, he added that it would help decongest the city’s roads, since there is no uniformity in parking. “Somewhere, we have to settle for a policy if it is made for future convenience. For example, in USA, citizens pay $60 per hour for parking. Finding this expensive, people there use public transport like trams and buses.
BMC’s policy will give citizens right to park their vehicles near their residential premises. Earlier, commercial outlets and visitors mostly used the space available near residential areas. When a policy, which is going to affect the city in the long term comes into effect, resistance is expected from a section of citizens,” he said.
Till date, we haven't received a single letter from Raj Purohit, nor do we have any information… somewhere we have to settle down for a policy if it is made for future convenience - Manoj Kotak, BJP group leader in the BMC
This pay-and-park will lead to goondaism. This is an administrative issue, not a political one. Why should anyone else be contacted? - Raj Purohit, Colaba MLA