BMC increases fines for illegal parking: Civic officials say move will lead to smoother traffic, taxi drivers protest steep penalties

Starting from 7 July, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has begun imposing fines ranging from Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000 for illegal parking. The decision was undertaken by municipal commissioner Praveen Pardeshi to tackle parking woes that city residents face.

 BMC increases fines for illegal parking: Civic officials say move will lead to smoother traffic, taxi drivers protest steep penalties

Representational image. Pritha Mukherji

Devendra Jain, Assistant Commissioner, G (South) ward, said, “The earlier system was that we towed vehicles on the spot and imposed a fine of Rs 500 for illegal parking. Now, the system is more stringent. We are hoping that this will contribute to smoother traffic."

How will it work?

According to the Mumbai traffic police, if a car is found to be parked in a no-parking zone, a picture of it will be taken and an e-challan will be issued. An official said, "If the driver is seated inside, we just tell him or her to move the vehicle in order to clear the area. If the driver continues to , the car will be towed away."

The civic authorities have declared the areas within a 500-metre radius of public parking lots as no-parking zones. Jain said, "We are also putting up signboards outside industrial areas. These signboards have QR codes that can be scanned in order to receive directions to the nearest public parking lot available."

Currently, there are 26 operational public parking lots in the city.

These measures appear to be helping to a certain extent. A commuter said, "Of late, I reach my office about five to seven minutes faster than usual. The BMC's measures need to be appreciated."

Criticism of the policy

However, not everyone has welcomed the new policy. For instance, a taxi driver said, "The fines have been increased to Rs 5,000, and even Rs 10,000 in some cases. We do not earn that much money. How are we supposed to pay such hefty fines? These fines are almost equal to our entire monthly earnings."

A protest led by the NCP against high fines for illegal parking. Pritha Mukherji

A protest led by the NCP against high fines for illegal parking. Pritha Mukherji

On 10 July, members of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), including former minister of state in the Maharashtra government Sachin Ahir (who, incidentally, has now joined the Shiv Sena) held a protest on the issue in front of the BMC ward office at Senapati Bapat Marg. Several unions of taxi drivers and autorickshaw drivers had joined the protest.

The agitators have opposed the increase in fines, and have asked for adequate pay-and-park facilities. A taxi driver further said, "The traffic authorities should at least warn us before they tow away our cars. Sometimes, even when people park their cars in a no-parking zone even for two minutes, the cars are towed away. The drivers are then expected to pay the fine."

Responding to the criticism, Jain responded, “Our aim is only to reduce congestion on the streets of the city. The results of the policy can clearly be seen in G-South ward (which comprises parts of Lower Parel and Worli). We do not intend to collect lakhs of rupees as fines. We hope to make drivers aware of public parking facilities that are available."

The BMC's drive against illegal parking appears to have yielded results in some parts of the city, such as High Street Phoenix Mall in Lower Parel, as also Worli and Prabhadevi. However, several other crowded areas of the city, such as Bandra and Santacruz, continue to battle parking woes.

 

Updated Date: Jul 25, 2019 23:58:32 IST