Transport bodies upset with BMC's parking charges hike

Truck, tempo and school bus bodies are calling for BMC to reconsider decision, say it's unfair to hike charges; have threatened to go to court if decision is not revoked

Transport bodies have joined the chorus against the civic body’s proposed hike in parking charges. Heads of associations of trucks, tempos, and the owners of school buses have come out against the move that was ratified by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s Improvements committee (‘Proposal to hike parking rates cleared’, December 27).

BMC commissioner Sitaram Kunte felt that buses and trucks parked on the road block the carriageway. Representation pic

For instance, the Western India Automobile Association (WIAA) has demanded that the BMC reconsider the move. WIAA is the largest automobile association in the country, with about 1.1 lakh members, most of them being car owners. In November 2013, when the same Improvements committee had slammed the proposal to introduce a three-fold hike, the WIAA had written to the municipal commissioner Sitaram Kunte seeking an appointment to discuss the issue. The commissioner’s office, however, has not replied to the letter till date.

The association is upset over the BMC’s approach. Nitin Dossa, executive chairman of the association said, “This is dictatorship. We strongly oppose the revised charges, as no infrastructure has been created since last 60 years and there is no improvement in the public transport. Why can’t the sea link be extended to south Mumbai? Why has no water transport project been implemented?” “The BMC aims to encourage the public transport and discourage cars from coming to south Mumbai. Where does it plan to accommodate these commuters, while local trains are running packed, with people hanging out of the doors?” questioned Dossa.

The association felt that the BMC should revisit their plans. “If the BMC does not reduce the charges within 8-10 days, we will approach the court,” Dossa told MiD DAY. Ashok Pandit, the chairperson of Oshiwara Lokhandwala Residents Association, a residents’ body, also informed that they were considering going to court over the matter. Meanwhile, the All India Motor Transport Congress, the apex body of the state, district and taluka level transporters, and is affiliated with 2,500 associations in the country, feels that transporters should be exempted from parking fees. Bal Malkit Singh, the president of the association, said, “To park a vehicle is our liability.

Our vehicle doesn’t come to the city to be parked. We only park our vehicles to load and unload consignments. We pay several taxes like permit tax, road tax, entry point tax etc. So, we should be exempted from parking charges.” School bus owners feared the increased charges would affect business. Anil Garg, president of the School Bus Owners Association, said, “These charges are very high.

It will affect our business, as we have to park buses for 2-3 months when schools have vacations. We have to bear that cost, which, ultimately, will be borne by parents.” The BMC is firm on its decision. BMC chief Sitaram Kunte clarified, “The Improvements committee has already cleared the proposal and we are not restricting parking. It will help restrict roadside parking, as many heavy vehicles tend to blocks the carriageway by parking in long lines.

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