Parking woes: Celebrities hack public space
Was surprised to find an ultra long grey vanity luxury van parked inside the Bandra Reclamation bus station this morning. It seems it belongs to Shah Rukh Khan and it is being parked there for the past few weeks. This is in utter violation of the spirit of the national urban transport policy.
The film star is worth several hundred crores and clearly has a big garage in his Bandstand mansion for his luxury cars. All these film and cricket stars boast about their big parking lots for their luxury cars. So, why should he park his vanity van in public spaces? Some years ago, he openly violated the public road space outside his mansion by illegally building a ramp on the road and then parked his van there. It was only after furious protests by citizens that he stopped his blatant violation.
The film star is worth several hundred crores and clearly has a big garage in his Bandstand mansion for his luxury cars
One can notice in the Reclamation bus station that a stainless bus shelter has completely collapsed on the wall. This is in a way symbolic. Public transport has been wrecked and private luxury vehicles are being encouraged.
A few feet away from this bus station is a car park outside the promenade which is free. It is a huge subsidy for motorists. Instead of charging them money, they are being given a free lunch. The Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), the sponsor, seems to be totally ignorant and rude in your face, with its slogan prominently displayed in two places - Life is all about finding a parking space. As a leading public sector fuel company, it should be more conscious about fuel saving and the huge oil import bill the country pays for the convenience of motor cars.
Government policies are killing public transport, thereby driving both the state transport corporation and the BEST Undertaking into a crisis
Clearly, the authorities are now totally brazen and do not care a damn for social justice.
Is there not something odd about this privatization of public space? Government policies are killing public transport, thereby driving both the state transport corporation and the BEST Undertaking into a crisis.
And why this secrecy about parking charges in the bus station premises? Does the public have no right to know how much Shah Rukh Khan is paying for this parking? And Lilavati hospital doctors are being allowed car parking here. Should there not be a board displaying the charges as is the practice elsewhere? Or is someone having an underhand deal? The whole policy in any case is not only anti people but ludicrous in terms of revenue. It can at best fetch a few hundred or thousand rupees. It also sets a very bad precedent. There are a hundred ways in which the space can be used more creatively.
Nothing illustrates the abject failure of the government in the current strike of ST employees which is going on for more than two weeks. They are poorly paid and the lifeline of the entire state has been paralysed by the State. Can one imagine the suburban railway services coming to a halt in Mumbai city?
Instead of encouraging, supporting public transport, the government is doing exactly the opposite.
Its ludicrous talk of smart cities is exposed time and again but most noticeably in the current flooding of Chennai city.
But they insist on this brazen misuse of the word, one does not have to go far. In between the Reclamation bus station and the ONGC parking lot is the head office of the MSSRDC which is so close to the automobile lobby. A board outside says Special planning authority for the expressway smart city.
Does the public have no right to know how much Shah Rukh Khan is paying for this parking?
While punishing people with attacks on public transport sector, the government brazenly subsidises air travel with its UDAN scheme - Ude Desh ka Aam Nagarik. So it wants common people to fly at great expense to their pockets while denying them train and bus journeys.
The scam is thoroughly exposed in a Marathi daily on the front page today. The authorities have boasted about the new airport at Sindhudurg district and its flight to Mumbai. But it is prohibitively costly at Rs. 12000 per seat . Utterly crazy for a short distance flight.