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Sunday, September 19, 2021

Gujarat govt submits affidavit in SC over uniform parking policy

The 90-page affidavit, submitted to the apex court Thursday, includes annexures of the laws governing urban planning and corporation laws in Gujarat as well as the parking policy of Surat Municipal Corporation.

By: Express News Service | Vadodra |
Updated: September 11, 2021 1:27:29 am
According to the affidavit, SMC has implemented a parking policy approved by the state government since December 5, 2018. (Representational)

The Gujarat Additional Chief Secretary for the Urban Development and Urban Housing Development Department has submitted an affidavit in the Supreme Court in the ongoing Special Civil Leave Petition over the issue of a uniform parking policy in Gujarat.

ACS Mukesh Puri has told the top court that seven municipal corporations in Gujarat will soon have a uniform parking policy, and the Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) has already implemented its parking policy in 2018. Puri has also said that since the Gandhinagar Municipal Corporation (GMC) is under the Model Code of Conduct due to local body polls, the process to frame a parking policy for the state capital can only be initiated later.

The 90-page affidavit, submitted to the apex court Thursday, includes annexures of the laws governing urban planning and corporation laws in Gujarat as well as the parking policy of SMC, which the government has asked the other six municipal corporations to use as a model, and a status list of how far the corporations have come in planning the policy, which was first initiated in 2019, when Ruchi Malls in Ahmedabad had challenged the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) decision of free parking in commercial spaces and malls.

The affidavit says, “The government of Gujarat has already directed the seven Municipal Corporations (Vadodara, Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar, Bhavnagar, Jamnagar, Rajkot, and Junagadh) on December 31, 2018, to adopt the parking policy of SMC with suitable modification by considering the geographical area, availability of parking area of their respective city in accordance with the General Development Control Regulations (GDCR) rules, GPMC Act and to send it to the government for necessary confirmation. The state government will closely monitor that the finalisation of the parking policy is done at an early date, after following the due process laid down in statute.”

According to the affidavit, SMC has implemented a parking policy approved by the state government since December 5, 2018, while AMC has prepared a draft of the policy, which has been approved by its standing committee and general board, and has invited objections from the public on April 24.

The VMC, on September 4, has submitted the final draft of the parking policy, previously approved by its standing committee and general board after inviting objections, for a final assent of the standing committee. The draft will then be sent to the state government for approval.

In Rajkot, the municipal corporation has framed a draft of the parking policy framed and invited objections from the public, which “are under consideration”, while Jamnagar and Bhavnagar Municipal Corporations have submitted their drafts for the approval of their respective standing committees on September 2 and August 27, respectively. Junagadh, on September 3, invited objections from the public to the draft policy approved by the standing committee and the general board.

A letter issued by the UDD department on December 31, 2018, to all municipal corporations had stated that the state government was complying with an order of the Gujarat High Court delivered in October 2018 that directed the department to “at the earliest, take a decision in the parking policy to rationalise and regulate the parking fees being collected at the commercial complex, malls, multiplex and also at public premises, roads, streets and amend the GDCR appropriately if necessary to do so…”

On September 1, a Supreme Court division bench of Justices MR Shah and Aniruddha Bose had observed, “It cannot be disputed that traffic problem in the metropolitan cities in the State of Gujarat is a very serious issue because of non-availability of public parking and even sufficient parking spaces in the malls and other markets. The citizens are compelled to park on the road. There is no uniform policy and/or guidelines and/or notifications issued by the State Government.”

The apex court had given the state government “a last chance” on September 14” to come out with common guidelines or notifications under the Town Planning Act or under GDCR.

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