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High Court orders new survey to NMMC over parking case

Proposals and plans to address parking woes in Navi Mumbai are being promised by NMMC since its budget of 2008, but till date no concrete plan has been materialized. However, the disappointment of tax paying citizens is not limited to just this. In what can be termed as an unfortunate shocker, even the State Urban Development Dept. seems to be playing gallery to the corrupt ways of builders. But a new court order gives hope as the High Court has ordered NMMC to begin fresh survey for parking, issue notification and call for objections and suggestions.

This man is giving the corrupt officials-builders nexus in NMMC sleepless nights. One of the many issues on which RTI activist Sandeep Thakur has dragged NMMC to court is the new parking rules. It may be recalled that after a period of 12 years, when NMMC decided to revise Regulation 44, which is for parking vehicles within plots, citizens heaved a sigh of relief. Unfortunately, this relief was short lived as NMMC had no data as their base to propose new modifications to revise parking regulations. In other words NMMC modified the parking regulation according to their whims and fancies. When what they should have ideally done was study the availability of parking to be provided within plots, vehicle density, number of people owning vehicle and so on and so forth. When NMMC refused to understand the reasoning of RTI activist Sandeep Thakur on this; the latter challenged it in court. And Sandeep Thakur’s efforts of going to High Court reaped results when the NMMC TPO finally drafted a balanced revised regulation that was approved by the Director of Town Planning of the Govt. of Maharashtra. And finally it was sent for the sanction of the State Urban Development Dept. – the department most notorious for corruption and playing hand in glove with builders. The case of Navi Mumbai proved to be no different. While accepting all the other revisions is parking norms, the Urban Development stayed the revision of residential plots. It is anyone’s guess why the State UD Dept. ignored the parking requirements for residential plots approved by the senior most officer of town planning in the state. – it was “to favor the builders”. Initially, on a court’s order; first Sandeep Thakur was given a hearing by the Principal Secretary of the UD Dept. T C Benjamin but even after the meeting; the UD Dept. forgot crucial points in the notification.

Sandeep Thakur terms in the errors in the notification of parking issued by UD Dept as an intellectual deficit that reflects the poor quality of governance in the state. However, the High Court has taken the UD Ministry to task on this and has ordered a fresh survey, a new notification and calling for public hearing and suggestions.

Sandeep Thakur says that he hopes that now the notification will be filed properly without influence of the builder’s lobby. Once the so called develop city by CIDCO has today become a hassled city with several parking woes. However, the High Court order is a relief to Navi Mumbai that is bursting at its seams with vehicles. According to statistics at the Regional Transport Office, 30, 000 vehicles are adding to the city every year that poses a grim picture in the coming 6 years. What has added to the nightmarish traffic congestion is not only the invasion of the mall culture. If this time too officials in NMMC and UD Dept. play gallery to builders, a grave situation awaits Navi Mumbai’s tomorrow. With cameraperson Santosh Bodhare, Sana Warsia for NMTV News.

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