Monday, April 24, 2006

Panel to study `pay and park' system yet to start working

Panel to study `pay and park' system yet to start working

The Hindu

Deadline expires on Sunday; Congress not in favour of reintroducing system

# BMP Council sets up committee on April 3 this year
# Panel given 20 days to submit report
# The system was scrapped on April 1, 2005

BANGALORE: Even as the people are wondering whether the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) will reintroduce the "pay and park" system, the committee set up to study the pros and cons of reintroducing it is yet to start functioning.

On April 3, when the BMP Council approved the civic body's budget for 2006-2007, it was decided to set up a committee headed by the Mayor Mumtaz Begum to study the feasibility of reintroducing the controversial scheme. The former Mayor, R Narayanaswamy, had scrapped the scheme on April 1, 2005.

The committee, which was asked to study the proposal of completely banning hoardings also, was supposed to submit its report within 20 days. Though the deadline ended on Sunday, the committee has not met even once.

The committee, comprising Deputy Mayor M. Lakshminarayana, ruling party leader H. Ravindra, Janata Dal (Secular) leader B.R. Nanjundappa and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader A.H. Basvaraju, has the responsibility of discussing the pros and cons of reintroducing the scheme.

"If the committee finds it essential to reintroduce the system as suggested by the city police, it has to work out modalities of maintaining the parking lots without charging a fee from the public. Our party has the credit of scrapping the system and we do not intend to levy any fee for the facility on the public at least till our term ends," Mr. Ravindra told The Hindu on Sunday.

"With the Government announcing the setting up of a parking authority, we are not sure whether the BMP will be allowed to carry on with its own system.

"The committee could not meet because the Mayor was on a visit to China. After her return, thespian Rajkumar's death and the related events needed attention. We will meet this week and soon decide," he said.

"We will also find out whether we can ask multi-national companies to maintain parking lots without charging anything from the public," he added.

Parking meters

It is also learnt that the BMP, which is being pressured by the police to bring back the system, is also considering if electronic parking meters can be installed on select roads. "People are happy with metered parking on Brigade Road and Commercial Street. We can install such meters on prominent roads where the `pay and park' system is necessary," sources in the council said.

After the former Congress-led coalition Government rejected the BMP's proposal to scrap the scheme, Mahanagara Palike Commissioner K. Jothiramalingam tabled the proposal to reintroduce the scheme in the BMP council in February. But the ruling Congress in the BMP was forced to defer the proposal to reintroduce the system after members of the Opposition Janata Dal (S) and BJP expressed different opinions on the issue.


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