Two days after they were introduced, the BMC’s new parking rules has drawn severe opposition from residents. On Tuesday, several residents of Worli alleged that the civic body was ‘arbitrarily’ penalising vehicles park in their locality, even when it was outside the 500-metre radius of a Public Parking Lot (PPL) located at N M Joshi Marg in Elphinstone Road area.
On July 7, the BMC implemented the new parking rules, which states that any vehicle parked on the road within 500-metre radius of PPLs would attract fines from Rs 5,000 to Rs 15,000.
The steep fine, officials said, has been introduced to deter motorists from parking vehicles along roadsides — one of the key reasons behind traffic jams plaguing the city, besides obstructing movement of emergency vehicles, like ambulances and fire engines, and to discipline traffic.
In the first phase, the rule has been implemented in around 26 PPLs across the island city, western and eastern suburbs that have a capacity of accommodating at least 25,000 to 30,000
On Tuesday, residents from a housing society in Worli staged a protest demanding that the civic body stopped slapping fines on vehicles parked on road in the locality as it did not fall in the newly defined “no-parking zone”.
“The BMC has put up a board informing that our road falls within the no-parking zone and we will be fined Rs 5,000 to Rs 15,000 if vehicles are found parked here. The civic body’s rule says no vehicles should be parked within 500-metre of PPLs, but these roads are well beyond that limit. How can they fine people when this is not even covered under the rule?” Santosh Gupta, a resident of Worli, said.
Sachin Ahir, chief of NCP’s Mumbai unit, also met Municipal Commissioner Praveen Pardeshi on the matter. “The BMC’s decision is arbitrary and made for rich people, who alone can afford paid parking. Civic body’s penalty policy is depriving Mumbaikars, who live in small houses, from using vehicles,” Ahir said.
“Where will Mumbaikars, who reside in one-room kitchen flats and one BHKs, park their vehicles?” he asked.
According to officials, of the total 26 PPLs at least 10 have free parking. The free PPLs are located in Senapati Bapat Marg in Worli, in island city, Andheri West, Goregaon East, Kandivali East in western suburbs and Mulund in Eastern suburbs.
Defending the move, Additional Municipal Commissioner Vijay Singhal told The Indian Express, “The idea of this new rule is to ease traffic in the city. These 27 parking lots can accommodate over 25,000 vehicles. It can help in decongesting the roads. Our intention is not to collect fines, but bring some disciple and allow free flow of traffic. The city has more than 30 lakh vehicles. Also, the fine has been introduced for areas around available parking spaces.”
Claiming that there is always some opposition when some big decisions are implemented, Singhal said, “But this policy is to encourage people to use civic body’s available parking lots. The roadside parking has become a menace in the city. We will increase more spaces in future.”
In the first three days since the new parking rules have come into effect, the BMC has collected Rs 8.69 lakh in fines from owners of 243 vehicles.
On Tuesday alone, the BMC penalised 107 vehicles (51 two-wheelers, 53 four wheelers and 3 three-wheelers) for parking in no-parking zones and collected fines worth Rs 5.19 lakh. The BMC is appointing retired private security persons for implementing the rule.