Ban on paper, vehicles crowd space under flyovers

Illegal Parking Continues, PMC Stresses Beautification
Vehicles continue to be parked under flyovers across Pune city despite a ban clamped by the urban development department in 2009 in the wake of the terror attacks in Mumbai the previous year.The government’s decision remained on papers as most local bodies across the state failed to execute the ban in the absence of the lack of authority .The Bombay high court also banned parking under flyovers on June 20, 2013, upholding the state’s 2008 decision to stop the practice that might trigger sabotage possibilities.

TOI found flyovers across Pune city -from Hadapsar to Shivajinagar, Ganeshkhind Road, Swargate and Satara road and other places -used for parking twoand four-wheelers and commercial vehicles such as tempos and trucks.

The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has written letters to police to ban such parkings, but nothing has happened till date. Police can impose fines on the motorists for parking in no parking zones, but law dose not authorize them to close the open spaces under the flyovers.

Retired IPS officer Rajendra Sonawane said, “Parking vehicles below flyovers is a security threat, because there is no mechanism to check and monitor them. There have been bomb blasts in Hyderabad, where terrorists planted timerdevices on vehicles. Hundreds of vehicles are parked under a flyover at any given time, but no one can assure safety unless the place is security vetted.“ He said, “Security threats will be there even if a space below a flyover is beautified, as there’s no system for anti-sabotage checks. For instance, 27 bombs were once planted in cavities of trees in Surat.“

Sonawane added, “We have seen Mumbai, Pune and Nag pur municipal corporations issuing tenders to contractors for running pay-n-park schemes below flyovers. There are complaints of people with vested interests collecting money from motorists as parking fees. This is a security concern.“

Police should issue a notifi cation identifying places where vehicles can be parked or not for security reasons, he said.

An official from the state anti-terrorism squad, Pune, said, “Parking of vehicles under flyovers is banned in all developed countries for security reasons. Not that Pune does not have such instances -terrorists had planted bombs on vehicles to trigger blasts on J M road and at the parking space outside the Faraskhana police station.“

Activist Qaneez Sukhrani said parking can be allowed on a payment-basis only . “But commercial vehicles such as trucks, tempos and radio cabs should not be allowed. The city needs multi-modal parking facility .PMC will have to check the reservation of the land under a flyover. A free space under a flyover eventually leads to mushrooming of slums sand settlements of beggars.“ Businessman Prashant Surse said, “We have four flyovers and an overbridge within a distance of a km at Gadital in Hadapsar. Haphazard parking of vehicles block the space and obstruct traffic flow.“

Justifying parking below flyovers, Chandrakant Ghodke, president of tempo panchayat (Hadaspar), said, “We were operating from the Gadital octroi post and paying a nominal rent of Rs 120 to PMC. We were, however, asked to park the vehicles on the Pune-Solapur road side after the octori post was demolished and the Hadapsar bus terminus came up. PMC relocated us below the flyover. We don’t have any written agreement with the civic body .“

Assistant municipal commissioner (Hadapsar ward office) Sandhya Gagare said they have sent letters to police and RTO to take action against vehicles parked under flyovers. “We conduct patrolling five-six times day to prevent hawkers from conducting business under flyovers,“ the officer said.

APMC official said the civic body never allowed parking under flyovers. “We have beautified spaces under some flyovers, like the one in Warje. Plans are afoot to beautify spaces under other flyovers.“

Deputy commissioner of police (traffic) Ashok Morale said parking vehicles under flyovers obstructs traffic flow and create difficulties for the pedestrians. “PMC should barricade such places and ensure parking of vehicles to alternative sites. We filed cases against 1,308 vehicles and collected fine of Rs 2,74,400 lakh in 2016-17 for illegal parking.“

An urban development official said they would look into the violation of the order.

Source : TOI