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Illegal parking fine to abet loot?

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mumbai traffic police fine, illegal parking, no parking

Even though the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has planned to impose Rs 10,000 fine for illegal parking, questions are being raised whether this policy will be implemented effectively. The fines will be ranging from Rs 1,000 to Rs 10,000 for car owners for parking their vehicles in non-parking areas of the city. The civic body will also tow away illegally parked vehicles. BMC Commissioner Praveen Pardeshi has asked wards to implement the rule by July 7.

The traffic police too want to levy a fine of Rs 10,000 on illegally parked vehicles. The traffic police have planned to write to the state government requesting amendments in the Motor Vehicles Act which will enable them to impose fine on wrongly parked vehicles in the city. At present, the penalty amount is only Rs 200.

Shiv Sena spokesperson Neelam Gorhe said, “People sometimes are not aware of the parking rules. Hence, they park their vehicles anywhere. On the other hand, strict action must be taken against those who deliberately park their vehicles in no parking area. Strict law is required for habitual offenders. Parking rules are necessary from the security point of view. The BMC has taken the right step by framing new parking rules but it should not be misused.”

The BMC’s proposal to impose fines for illegally parked vehicles has come at a time when the city is facing space crunch for parking vehicles. Many housing societies especially the old buildings don’t have parking space for vehicles. Hence, residents have to park their vehicles on the road. Even visitors visiting these buildings have no option besides parking their vehicles outside the building. Mumbaikars want the civic body to create adequate parking spaces in the city before implementing the new parking policy.

Writer Raju Parulekar said, “So many rules are existing and one more rule is being added to it. The BMC has not been able to effectively implement the rules. The Pune Municipal Corporation has framed a rule to curb illegal parking. If you park your vehicle outside malls and are charged for parking then a case of extortion will be filed in the Pune Municipal Corporation. This is the right step.”

According to citizens, implementing the rule in the current form will only lead to more corruption in the city as offenders will pay a small amount as fine and get away with it. It will also give another option for the civic body to impose fines from motorists. Already offenders flout parking rules and get away by paying a small amount as fine. The civic body also has urged the traffic police to make changes in the Motor Vehicles Act.

MNS leader Prakash Pawar said, “BMC won’t be able to implement this new rule. Parking contractors and Traffic Police will loot the people by charging fines from them. The civic body is charging exorbitant amount as fine from the offenders. Whether the civic body is planning to start parking spaces or earn money through fines? The BMC must deploy its staff at no parking zones and take stringent action against the offenders. Why are they charging fines?”

The BMC had framed laws to deter spitting and littering in the city. Marshals were appointed by the civic body to keep an eye on offenders flouting the rules. This plan failed to work as marshals were seen harassing the people by asking them to pay penalty. Even fake marshals were seen collecting fine of Rs 11,000 from citizens at Ghatkopar. Citizens then filed a complaint with the BMC about field marshals not doing their job effectively. Later on, the fake clean-up marshals were arrested by the police and the fine amount was recovered from them. Subsequently, the civic body withdrew the services of clean-up marshals from the city.

BJP corporator Neil Somaiya said, “Right now I can’t say anything about it. When this issue is presented before the house and discussion will be held, only then I can comment about it.”

Last year, the BMC had come forward with a policy to ban plastic bags in the city. Initially, the ban worked as the officials raided shopkeepers and hawkers using plastic bags and levied fine amount of Rs 5,000 from them. However, the campaign lost its sheen after the state government had given three months time to shopkeepers to dispose of their stock of plastic bags. The ban remained restricted on paper due to ineffective implementation. Today, we can see hawkers and shops easily giving away plastic bags to the consumers. The BMC has been unable to effectively implement the plastic ban due to a lack of manpower for monitoring the offenders using plastic.

After the Elphinstone stampede tragedy, the BMC started a crackdown against hawkers. Many hawkers were asked to remove their stalls which were operating outside railway stations and bus stands. However, after a few months, hawkers returned and started doing their business outside railway stations and bus stops. The anti-hawking policy failed as BMC had failed to create adequate space for hawkers to carry out their business in the city. Today, we can see hawkers carrying out their business by flouting rules and paying money to civic body officials as fine.

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