Mumbai: SoBo residents protest BMC's new 'fine' tuned no parking charges
Citizens protest for two hours by blocking roads outside D ward's office after authorities tow away 10 cars under new rule
A change in parking rules brought south Mumbai residents to the streets in protest on Sunday. The residents are facing an acute shortage of parking space, with the BMC and traffic police implementing new rules for vehicles parked in 'no parking' zones, under which violators will be fined anywhere between R5,000 and R23,000. Citizens protested after authorities of the D ward towed away around 10 cars under this rule by blocking the roads outside the ward office for around two hours.
The new rule has been implemented to bring traffic snarls under control and discourage motorists from parking their vehicles anywhere along the road. According to the rule, "Unauthorised cars parked in the radius of 500 m from the PPL (public parking lot) will be towed as per MCGM circular and towing charge will be levied on the vehicle in question."
Where will we go?
The residents of Napean Sea road and Walkeshwar carried out a demonstration outside BMC's D Ward office, where authorities had towed away nearly 10 cars on Sunday. Car owners were slapped with a R10,000 fine to release their vehicles. "There is only one designated car parking lot of BMC in my area, where we can park only 58 cars. Where will others go to park their vehicles? There are so many high-rises in this area and the residents have been parking the vehicles outside buildings along the roads for ages," said Mukesh Jethwa, committee member of Chandralok building at Napean Sea road.
Residents of Napean Sea road and Walkeshwar carried out the demonstration. Pic/Bipin Kokate
"The cars of three residents of my building have been towed. This is BMC's harassment and goondagardi. Where should we go to park our vehicles? That's why nearly 200 residents protested outside the D Ward office and blocked the roads by parking cars on the roads for nearly two hours," said Jethwa.
"There is only one PPL, where we used to park our vehicles by paying R2,000 per month. But four months ago, they sharply increased amount to R6,000 per month. How will we go there to park? It is too costly. This is why many residents have stopped paying for parking in the PPL and started parking on the roads," said Rahul Subhash Jadhav, a real estate agent.
"We have been residing in this area for three generations. We've never faced a parking problem but the new rule is really scary. Where do we park now?" wondered Sanjay Vaidya, resident of Banganga cross-lane 2. His neighbour Raju Pardesi said, "The public notice was put in place on Friday night. They knew we would have protested in the daytime."
Senior inspector of Malabar Hill traffic division, Anil Koli, told mid-day, "The action against vehicles parked in no-parking zones has been taken in coordination with civic officials. We have been providing towing vans to the civic team. BMC officials will collect the fines. We had informed the residents to resort to an alternative. The roads are generally encroached due to vehicles parked along both sides of the road. We have to inform them a day in advance whenever there is any VIP movement," said Koli.
The protest was called off after civic officials and local politicians reached the spot and assistant municipal commissioner of D ward, Vishwas Mote, verbally assured the demonstrators that no vehicles will be towed from no parking zones till further orders. Sources said Mote and BJP MLA Mangal Prabhat Lodha are meeting on Monday to resolve the issue. While Mote refused to comment, Vinod Chitore, director of engineering, services and projects, did not respond to mid-day's query.
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