VISAKHAPATNAM:Even as the Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) is demolishing parts of several buildings in the city to provide vehicle parking, cellar parking is unlikely to become a reality any time soon, as builders/owners are not allotting parking areas citing repair works and pending court cases. As a result, motorists are forced to park their vehicles on roads, thereby causing bottlenecks in many busy, commercial areas.
Though the proposal for providing cellar parking in multi-storeyed buildings and commercial establishments has been in the pipeline for several years now, is being executed now with the GVMC, under the aegis of commissioner M Pravin Kumar, finally waking up from its slumber and launching the demolition drive across the city. However, the success rate remains low due to legal issues, builders’ negligence in taking up required modifications in the existing structures among others.
Till date, the civic authorities have demolished parts of 141 out of 331 identified buildings in the city, as the owners did not set up ramps, install security cameras or undertake necessary modifications in the cellars to provide parking.
Consequently, traffic snarls continue at busy commercial areas and main thoroughfares in the city, which in turn are putting both pedestrians and motorists alike to major inconvenience. The abnormal increase in number of auto-rickshaws, and haphazard parking is only compounding the situation.
Jagadamba Junction, Zilla Parishad area, Dwarakanagar, Dabagardens, Maddilapalem, Gajuwaka and few other localities in the city witness major traffic jams during peak hours every day, for two-wheelers and cars are seen conveniently parked on roadside, in clear violation of traffic rules, thanks to lack of parking lots and road markings for vehicle parking. However, the traffic police are now working in tandem with the GVMC authorities by demolishing parts of existing buildings to make space for parking.
According to municipal commissioner Pravin Kumar, the demolition works are in full swing across the city. “Some of the buildings identified by us are disputed properties, while a few did not get BPS/BRS clearance and some illegal structures are owned by educational institutions. Hence, we are coordinating with the police before carrying out anything and everything is progressing step by step. Meanwhile, it is the responsibility of the building owners to set up a ramp in the basement for parking, among other things,” he said. The GVMC will demolish another 72 structures in the next 15 days to facilitate parking in the basement. “We would soon hold a joint meeting with building owners and police to convince builders to undertake necessary works for providing cellar parking. If they don’t give in, the GVMC itself would complete the works and make the builders foot the bills,” he added.