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The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, better known as the BMC has decided to fine car owners parking at no parking zones. The fines are said to be between Rs 1,000 and Rs 10,000 depending on the area of the offense, and depending on where the car has been parked.
Vehicle parked in no parking zones cause heavy inconvenience to motorists, pedestrians, and emergency service vehicles like ambulances and fire engines. The BMC said that it would also tow away vehicles of repeat offenders.
According to The Times Of India, Civic Commissioner Praveen Pardeshi has asked for the rules to be implemented from 7 July 2019. Mr Pardeshi was keen on imposing a flat penalty of Rs 10,000 but choose to grade the fines from Rs 1,000 upwards because of fear of public outcry.
The fines will be issued in the form of an e-chalan. An official said that the fine amount would depend on the size of the vehicle, location of the area, and the road where the car is illegally parked.
Mr Pardeshi has asked all ward officer to appoint contractors to enforce the rule in their respective areas. The imposed condition is that the contractors must have compulsorily have ex-army personnel on their staff to enforce the penalty rule.
As is, the BMC does not impose fines on motorists for illegally parking, and this is something the local traffic police deal with. The BMC is scheduled to hold a meeting with the Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic), Mr Madhukar Pande to discuss details and implications of the move.
Mr Pardeshi said, "We will not compromise on public space. We removed illegal encroachment by the poor for sewer widening work at Bandra. Similarly, we will remove cars of the rich that are parked illegally by encroaching on public property."
"We are implementing the rule wherever there is a pay-and-park alternative available within a distance of one kilometer and on arterial roads," he added.
Mr Pardeshi feels that car owners encroach on BMC roads just like slum dwellers illegally occupy public spaces. He said, "Car owners encroach on roads by parking their vehicles and barring others from using that portion of public land. So action will be taken against such encroachers."
Activists on the other hand have opposed the move and they say that the BMC must create more parking space instead of imposing fines.
Activist Ashok Pandit said, "This is dictatorship. Did the BMC speak with citizens, NGOs and experts before taking such a decision? They are here to serve the people but take decisions without taking citizen in to confidence. There are other ways to find a solution instead of harassing citizens."
The BMC currently has 146 pay-and-park site across the city, and a total of 30,000 cars can be parked here. Also the civic body insists that the public park their cars at these sites because parking any where else creates confusion, and also restricts movement of traffic. There have been instances where fire engines where held up thanks to illegally parked vehicles.
The BMC said they will use the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act Section 314, and section 381 to enforce the penalties. Section 314 deals with encroachment, and section 381 deals with creating or causing a nuisance. The body said they have already installed boards at no parking zones, and will have zero tolerance towards violators.
Nikhil Desai, a resident at King's Circle said, " The BMC must first provide enough alternatives for parking, construct underground and multi-storey parking spaces. Otherwise, the idea of imposing a penalty will not work."
Thoughts About The Fines Structure For Illegal Parking
We agree totally with the BMC. Activists just make a bigger mess of things that are already in a big mess. Sure the BMC is here to serve people, but that does not mean people can park wherever they like. Yes, the BMC must provide more parking spaces across the city, but what good is it if the current parking spaces are not being used to potential?
Dear BMC, please restructure that penalty to a standard Rs 10,000.
Dear Activists, our alternate solution is Thanos.