The BMC’s plan to allot specific space on the road for residents to park their cars and to charge for it is a questionable idea. It appears that the idea is aimed at generating some extra revenue for the civic body, at a time when it is staring at the abolition of octroi later this year.
A recent DNA report had pointed out that the number of vehicles on the road has gone up by 90% in the last decade. While many new buildings that have come up in the suburbs provide parking space, buildings in south Mumbai that were constructed decades ago lack the same, and residents park their vehicles on the road. Also, many households own two or more cars, and due to insufficient space in the building compound the second (and third) vehicle is usually parked on the road.
But the risk with the BMC’s road parking proposal is that the person who pays for the allotted space would virtually “own” that space on the road, which actually is public property. This would deprive others the right to park their vehicles in that space even when it is lying vacant. Moreover, by linking allotment to payment, rich households or buildings could take more space, resulting in an unjust allocation of the public road.
There is no doubt that the parking space constraint has to be addressed, but it should be fair to all concerned. It is for transport and road experts to work this out. (One suggestion is to introduce parking meters.) What we need is a solution, and not an arrangement that will compound the problem.