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Pay Parking in Panaji

CCP should ensure that its move does not fail to achieve goal

MAYOR of Panaji Uday Madkaikar has announced that city’s 18th June Road (from Caculo Island till Captain of Ports building) will be turned into a pay parking zone for two-wheelers and four-wheelers with immediate effect so as to decongest the road. The idea behind converting the road into a pay parking zone was to bring discipline among motorists, who have been haphazardly parking their vehicles. The Corporation of the City of Panaji also has plans to convert few other roads, particularly from Down-the Road bar opposite Rua de Ourem creek till the old secretariat, into pay parking zones. As per the plans drawn by the CCP to implement the decision on pay parking, vehicle owners will be charged special rates. Local residents of the notified zones will be issued cards which will help them park their vehicles free of cost. However, the residents can park only one vehicle free of cost and those having more than one vehicle will have to pay prescribed parking charges. Tendering process for pay parking will be rolled out soon.

This is not the first time that the CCP has decided to implement pay parking in the city. Few attempts made in the past failed for various reasons. Though the city has been facing the problem for a long time, it has become acute with the starting of casino operations. Most of the spaces on the nearby roads are occupied by vehicles attached to casino operations. The vehicles are haphazardly parked and at most times the drivers resort to double parking thereby creating hurdles in smooth flow of traffic. Some of the drivers are so adamant that they do not budge from the places holding other vehicle drivers to ransom. The authorities have failed to discipline the errant motorists. The multi-level car parking near Mandovi Bridge constructed to ease parking problems remains under-utilised and is slowly turning into a white elephant. It is puzzling to note that despite availability of parking spaces neither motorists nor state authorities have been taking steps to prevent haphazard parking and decongest city roads.

While the city faces congestion, it has also been losing out on revenue collection as well. Now that the CCP has decided to go ahead with its decision to notify certain areas as pay parking zones and collect parking fees, it has to ensure that it has a foolproof system in place to ensure that its latest move does not meet the same fate as the one that was introduced in 2016 and wound up in 2017. The last pay parking module only helped the contractor enrich himself with the CCP losing around Rs 24 lakh in revenue. Other attempts to reintroduce pay parking in the city failed to take off. Now that fresh attempt is being made to revive pay parking system to bring discipline on the city roads as well as decongest them and earn revenue for the corporation, let us hope that city fathers come out with a good mechanism which would help achieve the goals.

Incidentally, Panaji is being developed as a smart city under Smart City Mission and smart parking process is one of the concepts of the smart city project. The process for earmarking 4,000 parking slots between Old Goa and Dona Paula with other amenities was set rolling many months ago but it has failed to take shape. It would be better if CCP and the Imagine Panaji Smart City Development Ltd, which is executing the smart city project, work in unison and ensure that parking slots are properly marked and all other arrangements made before implementing the decision and ensure there was no over lapping by either side. It has to be noted that many of the signboards put up have been damaged by miscreants and the same should be put up again. Any attempt to fast-track implementation of pay parking without proper system in place would meet with the same fate as was the case in the past. To ensure success of its latest attempts to streamline movement of traffic, orderly parking, decongest roads and also earn revenue — the CCP should make foolproof arrangements to achieve the desired goals.

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