– By K P Baney
Other View point
It is about a month now, that we are continuously reading about Parking Problems in PCMC area. Citizens have made forum to pressurise the Commissioner. The commissioner has said that he will take required action etc. What is the actual problem? As I think, media is talking about multiple issues. Let us examine the same.
One issue is about converting parking spaces like basements, stilts, which are reserved for parking, or approved exclusively for parking, into shops, offices, storage, serving area for restaurants etc. Since this space is being utilised for other purposes than parking, space for parking vehicles falls short, and therefore vehicles of these establishments are parked outside on road, which in return cause congestion of traffic. Unauthorised use of these parking places must stop. PCMC could demolish unauthorised use, as per provisions in building bye-laws. Mr Atul Goel, during PBAP s meeting with the commissioner, voiced the same feeling.
Second issue seems to be about Builders charging their flat holders for the parking spaces, in residential buildings. HC in recent judgement seems to have passed orders, that parking can not be sold. Detailed judgement is not in my hands. I am therefore not aware of the circumstances, under which such orders were passed.
But for argument sake let us take a look into this aspect. Parking spaces are normally provided on open Ground, near the building or in marginal open spaces around the building. This is called open parking. Parking spaces are also provided in basements or under stilts. Some Builders are providing multistorey parking, by dedicating one or more upper floors for parking, elaborately connected by concrete ramps. DEVI ORCHID is one such building having 3 floors of parking, on Bhau Patil Road, at Bopodi. ICC- DEVI GAURAV is another building with 3 floors of parking, under construction on Mumbai-Pune road, in Pimpri. These spaces are called covered parking.
Open parking, even if FSI free does cost some expenditure, which may be in form of providing hard paving, providing proper slopes to drain away water, lighting for visibility etc. In spite of this expenditure, builders normally do not charge for open parking. Open parking is provided free. Open parking is meant for members as well as for visitors.
Providing closed parking is different ball game altogether, and is very costly affair. RCC structure is to be erected for making provision for parking. Parking floor has every thing, floor, roof slab, tiling, drain, lighting, motor-able access etc. What are probably left out are side walls, and windows. Very often, side walls/ windows are also provided by some decorative material (like Aluminium louvers etc) to keep up aesthetics of the building. More than half of the space is taken away by drive ways and ramps. Minimum space allocated for one car park is about 5 M x 3 M. Adding equivalent area for drive ways, minimum space for one car park will come to 30 Sq Mts or 325 Sq ft. Not considering any cost for land (because of free FSI) construction cost of this area will cost much more. Builders, even if they sell parking, do not even recover construction cost of covered parking.
Media news is misnomer when they mention that PMC does not charge anything by way of property tax. PMC does charge property tax on covered parking spaces. Societies do also charge separately for maintenance on parking.
Asking for free covered car parking from Builders will be gross injustice to them. Easier way for Builders is to jack up the price proportionately on all the flats, and not charge for parking separately. But that will be harsh on and discriminative to the flat owners who do not require parking, or require fewer parking spaces than another flat owner. Charging separately for parking, infact, helps senior citizens and retired service people.
Another argument, which we normally hear from the elected members (Nagar Sevaks), is that since Parking is not counted in FSI, no parking charges be levied by the commercial establishments, Multiplexes etc. Besides heavy construction cost of providing parking facility, the establishment has also to spend continuously on cleanliness, lighting, watch & ward, and security arrangements like providing CCTV, BMS systems. Due to terrorist threat, apart from metal detectors, each and every vehicle is supposed to be checked on entry. All this is quite expensive. Pay and Park also keeps check on unwanted people and vehicles. There are instances, where stolen vehicles are left in these parking. Due to security provided on site, these instances come to be known in reasonable time. Charging for parking in commercial establishments is therefore inevitable, and be taken in right perspective. The amount charged for parking is of course debatable.
Providing free parking is a court matter. I think issue is also pending before SC. It is unnecessary for PMC and PCMC to waste their time on this provision, as they have many other important issues to tackle.