Pune: The initial parking policy, which promised to decongest city roads, has been rendered more or less ineffective, as several suggestions had to be incorporated before it was passed post 1 am on Saturday.
This has not stopped BJP from celebrating its victory, as the policy was passed in the General Body meeting after a marathon discussion of four and half hours on the intervening night of Friday and Saturday.
However, the present policy is nothing but a watered down version of the initial policy, given the fact that it will be implemented only on five roads on experimental basis and there will be no parking charges during night. Traffic police, all party committee under the mayor and civic body will announce the names of the five major roads where this policy will be implemented.
The changes in the policy are a result of strong criticism from all quarters including ruling BJP party, opposition parties and citizens.
Trigger points of policy
The space crunch in slum areas, narrow lanes and wadas to park vehicles was the main trigger point for the critics. Due to this, people are forced to park their vehicles on roadsides at night. Similarly, night parking charges, which were suggested in the initial policy, became a major concern for all political parties, people and BJP corporators. The corporators objected to these charges saying that without proper infrastructure, parking fees should not be charged. As BJP went ahead with this, the party faced stiff opposition from within the party. Due to growing opposition, BJP party leaders had to remove these points from the policy.
Challenge of Implementation
In its present form, PMC faces a big challenge of implementing the policy on five major roads. The Committee will decide the five roads where the policy will be implemented. While speaking to Sakal times, Shrinath Bhimale, Leader of House, from BJP, said, “We will convince opposition party leaders to participate in the committee. The committee will select five major roads after discussing it with Traffic police and civic body administration.”
He further said, “The committee will discuss different issues related to the policy in next six months and the report will be prepared. The committee will take a final decision on the implementation. There is no need to go to General Body meeting once again as the policy has already been passed there.”
One officer said, “It is very difficult to select five roads and implement the policy. If we implement it on main roads, people will park their vehicles in adjacent lanes. Moreover, local corporators will raise objections if the roads are from their panel.”
Opposition from within
Some BJP corproators were against the parking policy fearing that it will have a negative impact on upcoming State Assembly election. However, after Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’ intervention, the policy could move ahead. Similarly, BJP party leader Yogesh Gogawale convinced corproators that their suggestions would be incorporated in the policy.
Due to strong agitation in the corporation premises on Friday, the ruling BJP came under pressure when the policy was tabled before the General Body meeting. The party resorted to tactics like holding the discussion after 9 pm to divert attention of opposition party members. The discussion went on for four and half hours. Finally, the policy was passed only after incorporating the suggestions.