The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) on-street parking initiative now faces opposition from its councillors. The councillors have alleged that allotment of pay-and-park areas across the city is not transparent, and have demanded detailed information on contracts awarded to agencies to set up these facilities.
The matter was discussed last week at the BMC’s law committee, where Shiv Sena councillor from R central (Borivali) ward Sheetal Mhatre and a few others raised the issue of pay-and park-facilities coming up in their areas without any parking sign boards and clarity over the agency manning the area.
“One morning you wake up and see there is a man allowing people to park their vehicles in your vicinity and collecting money. They are also giving payment receipts. No clarity on how it came up, which agency was the contract awarded to, no details on tenders. Councillors are asked to float e-tenders for every big or small work they plan to carry out in their ward. It seems that the rule does not apply to the BMC assistant commissioner,” Mhatre said.
Citing the space crunch in the city and the lack of infrastructure, the civic body has been permitting people to park on the streets. The state had approved the pay-and-park policy in January this year, after keeping it on hold for two years. Following this, in March, civic chief Ajoy Mehta instructed officers of all 24 administrative wards, as well as the roads and traffic department of the civic body, to identify spots that can be used as pay-and-park spaces.
Around 300 new parking lots on Mumbai’s streets were identified by April.
The civic body currently has 92 on-street parking lots with a capacity of accommodating over 11,000 vehicles and 47 parking slots inside buildings or off street parking.
A senior official from the road and traffic department of BMC said that parking spaces have been identified on nearly 440 roads in the city, and the process is as per the rule. “ The parking spaces have been allotted to reduce inconvenience to residents. There is no profiteering as alleged by the councilors. We will submit details of parking spaces identified to the committee,” the official said.
Chairman of the committee Suhas Wadkar said, “It has been alleged that a huge sum is being extorted in the form of parking charges from residents. Hence, we have asked the department to table a detailed report on contracts awarded, how agencies were shortlisted, etc. before the committee.”