Park at your own peril: People paying for sins of an inefficient system

Residents of Vashi are paying for sins of an absolutely inefficient and corrupt parking arrangement in the city. Instead of keeping vehicles safely stationed, it is enabling vested interests like towing vehicles to make hay in collusion with traffic policemen.
“Vashi is a densely populated city with more than 5,000 commercial shops and thousands of residential tenements. The present infrastructure here has begun to burst at the seams considering the rising population after 30 years of Navi Mumbai’s development. Sector -17 of Vashi has the highest commercial space while Sector 9, 15 and 16 have major markets. This is what attracts lakhs of people coming here from all over Mumbai, Thane and Raigad. There is now an absolute need to create a proper parking system here,” says RP Sahani, secretary of Nidhi Housing Society.
Explaining in detail he says, “Unfortunately one of the major roads from Big Splash to Abhyudaya Bank is one-way with parking seen on either side. However, there is not a single signboard stating no parking at any point on the whole stretch. Definitely, this allows every road user to park his vehicle just anywhere and everywhere. But to utter disbelief of vehicle owners, their vehicles get towed away by traffic police without notice. To regain the vehicle one has to pay fine. For, two-wheeler it is Rs 200, which includes Rs 100 for parking the vehicle in ‘No Parking’ area and Rs 100 as towing charges. The charges are hiked depending upon the type of vehicle.
Moreover, no information is displayed on the type of fine being charged. Violation charges are doubled with surplus towing charge.”
If it was only about charging the fine, it would still not have been an issue but “in doing a shoddy job, the towing van people damage the body of the vehicle due to which the vehicle owner has to bear the repairing charges as well,” adds Sahani.
There is also no guarantee that paying fine one-time in a day would be the end of your travails. “There are many contractors who are given the contract of Pay and Park even for the same sector. That is why when one has to go for just five minutes to one place and similarly to five different places in the same vicinity the fine may have to be paid five times. There should be single charge for using the parking space anywhere in the vicinity.”
Similar problem is found in other nodes of Navi Mumbai.

2,000 Acts under which action can be taken: ACP
Given the parking mess in the city, Cityplus cornered ACP Traffic Shrikant Dhivare on the type of action a traffic policeman can take on the vehicle owner or driver. He replied, “There are more than 2,000 Acts under which action can be taken either on the spot or in the court.”

We also tried to gather answers to a few regular queries of the drivers and vehicle owners. Here they go:
Q) What documents should a driver carry while driving?
Driving licence, Registration Certificate, Taxation Certificate, PUC Certificate, Insurance Certificate, Fitness Certificate & Permit (in case of transport vehicles)

Q) Who is authorized to collect traffic fine on the spot?
Any traffic branch officer of and above the rank of Sub-Inspector of Police duly authorized with a receipt book.

Q) How does one pay traffic fine?
You can go to the respective Traffic Chowki up to three days show your L-Tem (Temporary Authorization to drive), pay the fine and get a proper receipt. After three days you can go to the fine collection counter at traffic headquarters.

Q) Under what conditions is the towing of a vehicle allowed?
Vehicle abandoned or left unattended
o Parked in a parking restricted zone
o Parked in a way causing inconvenience to other road users

Q) When can the authorities seize a vehicle?
Vehicle being driven by an individual without valid driving licence.
o Vehicle being driven without registration.
o Transport vehicle being driven without permit.
o Vehicle being driven without payment of tax.
o Improper/suspicious registration.
o No number plate.

Q) What are the damages for driving without a licence?
The defaulter is liable to be prosecuted in a criminal court with fine up to Rs 500 or three months’ imprisonment or both.

—Jaspal Singh Naol

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