Instead of parking buses on roads and at busy junctions in the night, the Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML) has decided to use 18 octroi nakas in the city and Pimpri-Chinchwad after April 1, as the state has declared its intention of abolishing octroi by replacing it with Local Body Tax (LBT) from the same date. This presents the PMPML with an opportunity to use the space at octroi nakas to park buses, which currently are being parked haphazardly due to overcrowding at the existing 10 depots.
PMPML buses are presently parked near PMC Bus Terminus and the parking line reaches almost to the J M Road. Other parking places are Shankarsheth Road, Sarasbaug, Nehru Stadium, near Katraj bypass, Pimpri-Sant Tukaram Nagar and roads near bus depots of Akurdi, Bhosari and Nigdi. The parking issue was discussed at a meeting held by Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar two days ago. “We have already made an official demand for using 18 octroi posts in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad as alternatives for parking buses, instead of using city roads and busy junctions,” PMPML Joint MD Dr Pravin Ashtikar said. “We have only 10 depots and the place is inadequate for parking the existing fleet of 1,835 buses. The problem would be grave once the second lot of 2,000 buses from JNNURM (Phase II) arrive in the next two years.”
Ashtikar said their demand for octroi post was a rational one, as PMPML caters to a population of 70 lakh people in the PMC, PCMC, three cantonment boards and three municipal councils. “Sadly, the PMPML only owns 47 acres in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad. Proper parking of buses is the basic need and we are getting positive response from the octroi department and both the civic bodies,” Ashtikar said.
Octroi Head (PMC) Vilas Kanade said the department has already initiated the process of switching over to LBT from octroi and was expecting an official notification of further directives. “Logically, PMPML can demand these places for parking their buses. We are ready to surrender places at our octroi posts after consulting with the PMC administration,” Kanade said.
Commenting on the issue, Kanade’s counterpart from PCMC, Ashok Munde, said it was Deputy CM Ajit Pawar’s suggestions of providing space to PMPML for parking buses and constructing bus terminuses. “He had conveyed the message to the PCMC. Now, there is no question whether to surrender these octroi posts to PMPML or not. We only need a small portion of these octroi posts for housing our escort squads, which will be conducting the surprise checks.”
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