Provide parking before penalising us, say Bandra Hill road shop owners
With the only public parking lot for H-West ward falling in busy commercial area, local shop owners tell BMC to clear hawkers and remove autos and other vehicles from the 92-vehicle lot
Crying foul over the steep parking charges, owners of shops on Hill Road in Bandra west claim that while civic officials are busy towing away vehicles, they are turning a blind eye to the lack of parking space in the only public parking lot (PPL) in the area and not taking action against hawkers who have long posed a problem to their customers and pedestrians.
The only PPL in the H West ward is located on Hill Road and has only 92 slots. When mid-day visited it on Wednesday, the contractor's staff member flatly said there were no vacant spots. This, the shop owners claim, is the scenario every single day. The four levels of the PPL are full of auto rickshaws, some of which are covered, high-end cars like Audis and Jaguars, and a couple of vintage cars, all of which are covered.
High-end and some vintage cars
No empty space
Hakim Mister, owner of the store Eye World, said after the new rule came into place, he inquired about the parking and was told there is no empty space. "I reside at Perry Cross Road but I cannot park near my shop. So I have to come in an auto rickshaw," he said. Mister pointed out that the plan to charge steep fines for parking within 500 metres of a PPL can be implemented in areas like Lower Parel, where parking lots have the capacity for more than 1,000 vehicles.
"The capacity of the parking lot is not sufficient for this area and since most of the cars aren't taken out, there is never any space for parking vehicles of people who come to shop," said Mister.
Shop owners are worried about losing customers. Pic/Bipin Kokate
The shop owners fear losing customers. "This is a commercial area and many people who come here to shop don't live in Bandra. Several come in cars. Because of the lack of parking in the area now, we fear that the number of customers coming here will get affected," said Mister.
Hitesh Shah, owner of the store Creation, said following the implementation of the new parking charges, he received a call from a client who was nervous about bringing his car and asked about parking. The shop owners are also worried about hawkers taking up the space that was once occupied by vehicles parked on the roads during the peak hours in the evenings. Bhanji Gada, owner of Trios, a garments shop said, "The hawkers occupy the by lanes, footpaths and the roads, plus, they litter the streets. If BMC is levying such steep fines on vehicle owners, they should ask for hefty fines from hawkers as well."
Hakim Mister, storeowner
Congress corporator Asif Zakaria claimed local PPLs are being misused and blocked by people who don't have parking in their buildings. "Some car dealers are parking their vehicles and giving the contractor a fixed business. As a result of this, the parking lot is full and the common man is having to pay a Rs 10,000 fine," he said. Zakaria added that this defeats the purpose of making a provision for builders to build public parking lots and the parking policy should be looked at again.
The H West ward has collected R80,000 in fines since July 7. After receiving complaints, BMC officials also visited the PPL. Sharad Ughade, assistant municipal commissioner of H West ward, said, "We are issuing a notice to the contractor asking him to immediately vacate the spaces and keep at least 50 per cent of them empty for regular people. We have also deployed additional staff to prevent hawkers from setting up their wares on the roads and footpaths in the evenings." He added that officials have been deputed to guide people to park inside the parking lot."
When mid-day visited the only public parking lot in the area on Wednesday, the contractor's staff member flatly said there were no vacant spots. Pics/Bipin Kokate
Amount of illegal parking fines collected in H West ward
The shop owners are also worried about hawkers taking up the space that was once occupied by vehicles parked on the roads during the peak hours in the evenings
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