Parking `“ A question of luck?

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By M.C. Linthoingambee

The valuation of good parking space is considered a major component of development in various countries including India, especially when car production figures have touched 15 million in 2010 with more increase happening in the corresponding coming years.  However the ever increasing demand for automobiles is not correlated by a corresponding increase in road infrastructure. This has the effect of increased strain on roads leading to traffic jams and accidents. There is also the matter of the vehicles need a space to park somewhere. Who will give this space? Urbanization has led to a greater part of open spaces going under construction with little area left plant even a single green plant.

As per Indian Road Congress (IRC) Standards, a vehicle takes 25 sq. m of space on an average. Whether it’s going for shopping or for any other purpose or for just going home or in his office, a car owner needs a parking space to make room for his luxury ride. All this amounts to the use of heavy volume of land just for parking. There are also various plans tackling this issue with more and more buildings and basement lot used for the drive of this purpose to make living space bigger than parking areas. Parking is a major concern when it is not able to accommodate the ever increasing traffic volume, keeping in mind that parking space are public spaces. The State being the custodian of public spaces is faced with the challenging task of providing facilities to people, while making sure the same is not wasted away.

In matters of policy, India does not have a comprehensive law relating to parking other than a nation-wide general policy. Generally, laws related to parking address parking regulation and enforcement. Considering the need to regulate and transform the event of hindrance in parking space, the National Urban Transport Policy of India devised by the Ministry of Urban Development in 2006 sets the tone for parking in India thereby mentioning that land is a valuable commodity and that parking fees shall reflect the market value of the land utilized for parking. Now, do we know the reason why we have to keep on paying someone or an agency for a parking space? At the same time, it directs the State governments to make suitable amendments to building rules to provide adequate parking spaces. Determination of parking space is a state subject and divested to urban local bodies through the process of decentralization.  The Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission, the flagship scheme for city development envisages formulation of parking policies for every city. The Ministry vide its Notification dated 28th March, 2007 directed all states to incorporate specific provisions on parking in various cities and towns in tune with local conditions.

The common issue of transportation is becoming a heavily guarded question. If you have a car, then you have an easier mode of travelling but even if you do, where is the parking space? If you are lucky, then you would have beaten the several others vehicle to a parking spot, otherwise you have to find an empty spot elsewhere, drive around until you find one or simply return home. The rule is to park in the right way and right place so not to cause hindrance to the general public. We know about the rush hours on the office clock, school clock and as such many others that ascertain a certain attention to curve out the issue of using of public transport and walking to a place of destination. And weekends are always a speed breaker with the number of cars travelling on Saturdays and Sundays for a leisure day increasing manifold.

The Municipal Corporation or the concerned City Development Authorities is given the mandate to govern both on-street and off-street parking. The Municipal law of a state addresses the manner in which parking lots shall be determined and assigned. Nothing works without a guide. In this context, laws relating to parking are loosely set based on guidelines and conviction of the local bodies. This assumes significance as states have given less importance to parking while devising plans for urban or local development. All across the world, countries have realized the need to have a strict parking regime ie.   parking policies which are aimed at better utilization of public space and restricting ownership and ridership of vehicles to curtail traffic and pollution.   Enforcement of parking rules is the mandate given to Traffic Police who has the power to fine, lock and even tow a vehicle found violating the traffic rules.  Section 177 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 empowers the traffic police to levy a fine of Rs 100 for a single offence and Rs 200 for repeated offence relating to parking. The laws and rules relating to traffic needs to incorporate provisions relating to parking which helps in better utilization of parking space and monitoring of parking. The persons managing the parking need to be empowered and given the right to penalize for parking violations. This shall include fining, locking and towing.

It is a common factum that in our country and in our states, the idea of parking is still a unconquered mountain hill with many terrains and winds to block out the surface but it could be said that we have try and are keen on trying further to make safe parking space. The parking space in Manipur is still not drafted or constructed still which is why we need effective implementation.

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