Mumbai: Cops take five-star hotels to task over illegal parking

Updated: 19 November, 2020 07:46 IST | Diwakar Sharma | Mumbai

Jt Commissioner warns establishments that if they don't comply, the Traffic Department will act to ensure their licence is cancelled

Private cars parked outside Hotel Taj at Colaba. Pics/Bipin Kokate
Private cars parked outside Hotel Taj at Colaba. Pics/Bipin Kokate

The Mumbai police have given a verbal warning to all five-star hotels that have been illegally parking vehicles of guests on the roads, causing major traffic snarls in the city. The joint commissioner of police (traffic) told mid-day that four posh hotels including Taj Mahal Palace at Colaba, Trident at Nariman Point and Intercontinental at Marine Drive claim to provide valet parking services, but "vehicles of their guests are often found parked along the roads."

We have given a strict warning to all five-star hotels to desist from illegally parking the vehicles of their guests on roads. These hotels including Hotel Taj, Trident and Intercontinental, which claim to provide valet services and the cars are found parked illegally," Yashasvi Yadav, joint commissioner of police (Traffic) told mid-day.

Cars parked outside Hotel Intercontinental at Marine Drive
Cars parked outside Hotel Intercontinental at Marine Drive

"The roads in south Mumbai are already congested and the illegal parking of vehicles causes major traffic snarls in the city," said Yadav. He further added that JW Mariott hotel in Juhu also parks the vehicles on any road when its parking lot is full.

Special squad formed

Sources in Mumbai traffic police have told mid-day that an special squad of officers formed to find the actual reasons behind the traffic jam in the city, so that the issues can be handled with an iron hand, has found illegal parking by five-star hotels as a cause of the problem. "We have been asked to check if other hotels in the city too illegally park vehicles on the roads," said a source.

Talking about strict action against these hotels, Yadav said, "At present we have given them a strict warning to refrain from parking vehicles illegally. If they do not comply, we will write to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and our police commissioner to cancel their licence to run a hotel."

Last week, the Mumbai traffic police kick-started an ambitious drive called 'Towing and Clamping Operation' to discourage motorists from parking their vehicles illegally along any roads.

Clamping and towing

The special squad of traffic police has been given the task to conduct random checks on city roads to clamp or tow the vehicles. "This drive is proving to be very successful as per day our officers are clamping more than 1,300 vehicles and towing over 400 which were parked illegally. The officers of the special squad have been told not to indulge in any verbal dispute with the motorists. The teams clamping or towing the illegally parked vehicles have been given body-worn cameras for transparency in the work," said Yadav, who further added that it is always easier and convenient to clamp the vehicles on the spot.

The areas worst affected by illegal parking include Chembur, Sakinaka, Mulund, Ghatkopar and Colaba, said Yadav. He added that local residents have been complaining about traffic chaos due to vehicles are parked on roadsides. The traffic issues have also worsened due to the under construction Mumbai Metro. Many arterial roads have shrunk as the Metro has dug them up and barricades have been erected.

The arterial city roads witness traffic jams during morning and evening peak hours as office goers prefer taking the road over local trains in the pandemic. Parking vehicles in a no parking zone and double parking add to the traffic snarls.

Yadav said, "Colaba traffic police squad clamped 18 vehicles and towed 14 motorcars around the posh hotels on November 16. In Sakinaka, 154 vehicles were clamped and 29 were towed at 90-ft road in one day. So, you can imagine the number of illegal parking of vehicles."

At present Mumbai traffic police have 2,000 clamps. Since the ambitious T&C Operation is on in full swing in the city, the cops have also outsourced additional 1,000 clamps and have ordered for 1,000 wheel locks.

Hotels speak

The sales and marketing head of hotel Intercontinental, who identified himself only as Talaj, told mid-day that the hotel has been shut since April. "So, there is no point of causing traffic jams. If someone else parks his vehicle in front of our hotel, it is not our fault. Also, we have not received any verbal or written warning from Mumbai police regarding the illegal parking of vehicles," said Talaj.

mid-day sent several emails and SMSes for a comment from JW Marriott, Hotel Trident and Hotel Taj. When there was no response, mid-day called the spokespersons of the three hotels who said they did not wish to comment on the issue.

400
No. of vehicles towed on average every day in the drive

1,330
No. of vehicles clamped on average every day in the drive

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First Published: 19 November, 2020 07:34 IST

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