South Mumbai residents to sue BMC over new parking fee regime
People in Walkeshwar and Napean Sea Road, who claim they are worst-affected by the high penalties, threaten legal action three days after new laws are implemented
The residents of Walkeshwar and Napean Sea road are mulling over taking their protest against the BMC's newly-introduced parking charges from the streets to the court. The locals, who hardly have any space to park vehicles, now have to constantly live in fear of being slapped with a Rs 10,000 fine.
Moreover, instead of promising a solution, BMC has said they will continue action against their vehicles under the policy. On July 8, mid-day reported in, 'SoBo residents protest BMC's new 'fine' tuned no parking charges', about how locals had protested outside the D ward's office against the new policy. Ward authorities had towed away nearly 10 cars on Sunday, the first day of the policy's implementation.
mid-day’s July 8 report
After the car owners were slapped with a R10,000 fine to release their vehicles, the residents, along with elected representatives and advocates, met the assistant commissioner of D ward, V Mote on Monday. The residents pointed out that the public parking lot (PPL) in their area can hardly accommodate 58 vehicles, when housing societies like Chandralok and others alone need a parking capacity of over 100 vehicles. In such a case, where should they park, they asked. During the discussions, local BJP MLA Mangal Prabhat Lodha had asked BMC to give these residents a breather of at least three days, which was agreed upon.
No action was taken on Monday and Tuesday, said a resident of Chandralok housing society which is located on Napean Sea road, but they feared that once the time is up on Thursday, BMC would come for them again without helping them with any infrastructure. Fearing the action, residents have begun seeking legal advice.
Some residents had protested outside the Chandralok housing society on Sunday
'Action will continue'
Mukesh Jethwa, a resident and committee member of Chandralok society, said, "We have started discussions with our advocates about what we can do in this case, as paying R10,000 cannot be an option. We need some respite and thus, knocking the doors of the court will be our only option. We were told by the ward officer that we will be given all the help possible but the three days will end on Wednesday and we are worried what will happen from Thursday onwards."
BMC, meanwhile, has promised to continue action against them. Mote said, "There was a meeting with the residents and the elected representatives but we cannot respond to their demands. I asked them to approach the higher authorities. We are continuing with our action."
Worli residents protest
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Worli residents also protested the parking charges on Pandurang Budhkar Marg, pointing out that a road that hasn't been handed over to BMC yet has no-parking boards. They also claimed that BMC was going charging vehicles parked beyond the 500-metre mark. The protest was led by the residents of the Mahalaxmi cooperative housing society, who were joined by other locals. Also supporting them were local NCP leaders and taxi drivers. Various taxis are parked in the area and the drivers have been warned by BMC to either park in the PPLs or in the taxi stand. The taxi drivers pointed out that their business will be affected if they are not on the roads.
Santosh Gupta, resident of Mahalaxmi housing society, said, "A 45-feet-wide road near our society is yet to be handed over to BMC but they have already turned it into a no parking zone, thus making it difficult for us to park. Taxi drivers are facing a similar problem. They are worried about their business and if a fine of such amount is levied upon them, where will they go? BMC is also going beyond the 500-metre mark, where there aren't any no parking boards thus making ground to charge money from there as well."
Sachin Ahir, former MLA and city chief of NCP, said, "Where will the citizens who live in one-room kitchens and one BHKs park vehicles? Don't the middle-class have the right to use two-wheelers or cars? BMC's decision is arbitrary and is made for residents of high rises. I have submitted an application to the municipal commissioner and requested him to allow free parking in BMC's parking area. Once the people make a habit of it, then it makes sense to start levying reasonable parking charge."
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