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. All has been exposed by RTI activist Sandeep Thakur, yet once again. More with our weekend exclusive that sums up the present parking menace that haunts Navi Mumbai. If you are a resident of any sector of Vashi and have to commute within the node during peak hours, we need not explain the nightmarish experience you have to go through. And for those citizens whose favorite hangouts are the malls in the vicinity of Vashi Railway Station, the least said about the horrendous situation here during peak hours, the better it is. Not to forget that this is the condition when most of the commercial buildings in Sector 30, near Vashi Railway station are still not completely occupied. What’s worse? If one studies the number of vehicles adding on the city roads today, a grave situation awaits Navi Mumbai’s tomorrow. 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 but another epicenter causing traffic troubles is Big Splash at Sector 17, Vashi. Situated in the heart of Vashi, the prime reason why this commercial complex never got OC is because of parking violations made by the builder in the project. In fact, the parking violation of Big Splash constitutes a permanent bottle-neck in the area. While NMMC does not have any policy or system to take control of the situation that is going out of hand, worst remains CIDCO’s negligence that is on a spree of selling plots to developers adjacent to city roads for commercial benefits closing all doors for future expansions of these roads. The issue within this issue, no points for guessing is corruption. Builders do not make adequate parking space within their plot in order to increase profit margin while NMMC and CIDCO are more than willing to ignore the violations due to corruption. This is not our wild guess, but a fact that even Ministers of the stature of Home Minister R R Patil have publicly endorsed in the past. That is why, after a period of 12 years, when NMMC decided to revise Regulation 44, which is for parking vehicles within plots, alert citizens heaved a sigh of relief. Unfortunately, this relief was short lived. Wondering why? We’ll tell you. When NMMC called for revision of the said regulation, RTI activist Sandeep Thakur asked NMMC asked NMMC for data that NMMC used to propose new modifications to revise parking regulations. Take a wild guess what NMMC replied to this request of Sandeep Thakur? Well, they said they had no data. Let’s just say that NMMC was modifying the parking regulation according to their whims and fancies. How much parking should be provided within plots, depends on vehicle density, number of people owning vehicle and so on and so forth. And if you thought, after confessing to Sandeep Thakur that they had no data on parking in Navi Mumbai, NMMC would get down to collecting it, then think again. Once again, it was a High Court that forced NMMC to do what is actually and logically their duty. 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. The State UD Dept. for reasons best known to them ignored the parking requirements for residential plots approved by the senior most officer of town planning in the state. The reason for the state to ignore town planning directives is anyone’s easy guess – “to favor the builders”. Sandeep Thakur says that he is going to challenge the UD Dept’s decision in court to get an explanation for their arbitrary decision that benefits only the builders lobby. With the only motive to benefit the builders’ lobby, the UD Dept. has taken a decision against the interest of citizens in Navi Mumbai and the city at large. Corruption has become so deep rooted, that rot in the system begins right from the top. And that is why, be it the biggest of scams in the country or the just the most burning issues of your locality like the parking crisis, the anti corruption movement of Anna Hazare seems to be the last hope of respite for the aam admi in the country. With bureau inputs, Sana Warsia for NMTV News.