Private buses eat up residents' space

Private buses eat up residents' space

Parking, undoubtedly, is a major problem in the City. But does it mean we can park our vehicles wherever we want to? Some people, especially taxi and autowallahs, private bus operators etc, believe they have a free run of public spaces leaving other road users, especially pedestrians little space to move around.

Not surprising then that with authorities slow to crack down on errant bus drivers, many a vehicle owner feels encouraged to follow the example of private bus drivers. Leading the brigade are the contract carriage buses, commonly known as ‘chartered buses’ which openly violate parking rules on City roads.

The problem exists in almost all the localities of the City but it seems to have acquired gigantic proportions in East Delhi’s Mayur Vihar area.  The chartered buses which are hired by schools for ferrying children, companies for ferrying employees and general people for various purposes such as ceremonies, picnics etc are seen parked in  various pockets of the area.

 “Residential area lanes have become the new parking zone,” says RK Saxena, an advocate and former president of the Mayur Vihar Phase-I, Pocket IV. “It is not a new problem in our area,” he says.

He specifically mentions about the problem in Pocket IV area. “Until a few months ago, five chartered buses used to stand in front of our house. Despite the fact that there are no schools in the nearby area, these buses would be parked each day. It was only after we complained to the Additional Commissioner of Police (ACP), that the buses were not allowed to park here. But the complaint notwithstanding, two buses continue to be always parked on the road,” says Saxena.

According to him, the situation is grave in Patparganj, near old Pandav Nagar Police Station. “In the morning hours, you will always see 10-15 commercial vehicles, including trucks and chartered buses parked on the main road. There is no one to question these bus drivers. There’s a complete mafiaraj.”

“Even schools, which are not authorised to park their buses on roads, are violating the norms. It is completely illegal. But the practice is going on in the area without any prohibition,” Saxena says.

Kailash Katyal, president, Federation of Resident’s Welfare Association, Mayur Vihar supports Saxena and says, “Time and again we have complained about the problems created by the chartered buses in our area. But officials always turn a deaf ear. In almost all the pockets of Mayur Vihar, private chartered buses and school buses occupy a
major part of the road as they are parked without any prohibition.”

He points out that the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) charges parking fee from the private bus owners while issuing fitness certificates. Notably, fitness approval is given when the vehicle is inspected by the motor vehicle inspector to check whether the vehicle meets the safety standard or not. “I want to ask MCD that if it is charging parking amount from the bus owners then why isn’t there a check on the parking of these vehicles,” says Kailash.

Meanwhile, Awadesh Kumar,  a resident of Mayur Vihar Phase I, who is aggrieved by the problem, morosely says there is no solution for it. “This is because the police and the municipal authorities are not serious about dealing with the problem. Obviously, they are getting money for allowing illegal parking. If the buses are to be parked in authorised parking areas then the bus owners will have to pay Rs 12,000 -10,000 per month.

Presently, a little less than this amount is going  into the pockets of policemen.”
Kailash too has many times in the past complained about the problem. “But everytime the concerned municipal  department tries to skirt away from the issue. MCD says the matter will be handled by PWD and the PWD refers it to  the traffic department, who further pass the buck to police and so it continues.”

And this is the stark reality!

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