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Who will pay for the damage?

Last month,Varsha Khatnani was waiting for her driver to return when a towing operator hauled her vehicle away,with Khatnani still inside.

Written by Tarun Nangia | Pune | Published: February 18, 2009 1:10 am

Vehicle owners show anger at faded no-parking signs

Last month,Varsha Khatnani was waiting for her driver to return when a towing operator hauled her vehicle away,with Khatnani still inside. Her Honda City was damaged,the doors and the bumpers taking the maximum blow. Khatnani will have to cough up over Rs 25,000 to get it repaired. With her car still in bad shape,she is furious. “How can they tow away the car with me in the car?”

Many vehicle owners will sympathise with her. In Khatnani’s case,the towing operator refused to pay for the damage. “The police shooed me away when I went to complain,” she said. She has lodged a written complaint with the DCP Traffic,but Khatnani said she has not received a reply.    

It could be a turf war between the municipal corporation and the traffic police,or the result of two government bodies acting in tandem by depriving the city of most parking spaces,but vehicle owners like Khatnani are bearing the brunt

Mohan Bhogaale,a brand management consultant with an office on Prabhat Road has been an eyewitness to the callous behavior of towing operators. He said,“I’ve seen many instances where two-wheelers have been damaged. Often,the locks are broken. Who will pay for the loss?

Many allege that towing operators are taking advantage of poorly painted parking signs. “Poor quality paint is used. The markings fade soon after they are painted,” said Bhogaale,who owns a two-wheeler. The two-wheeler of Anand Sampat,a photographer,was towed away from FC road recently. “The no-parking signs near the police grounds on FC Road are poorly painted and hardly visible,” said Sampat.

Most of them feel it is a money making venture than an effort to regulate parking.

Srinivas Bonala,Additional City Engineer,Pune Municipal Corporation,says,“The markings on the road are handled by the ward officers; I cannot say anything on the same.”

While the vehicular population of the city has grown in the last two decades,parking space has not kept pace. There are other reasons for the parking space crunch. While the development plan of 1987 earmarked 52 parking spots in the city,the municipal body has not acquired land for all of them. Less than 10 have been developed as parking spots. Further,the draft parking policy of November 2007,passed by the PMC is pending the state government’s nod.

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