: Deteriorating air quality levels, noise pollution, chaotic roads and stifling jams are some of the reasons that spurred a collective of housing societies in Mumbai to come up with an out-of-the-box solution.
The Maharashtra Societies’ Welfare Association (MSWA), an umbrella body of over 10,000 societies, has requested the state government to waive off property tax equivalent to the cost of buying and operating environment-friendly bicycles and electric vehicles which members can use for short-distance travel or to commute in a common pool or on subscription basis. MSWA has made the demand citing a need to reduce vehicles on roads and pollution.
Housing societies will be taking up over 70 different initiatives and will showcase them at the Housing Society Management Show (HSMS-2018) slated between December 14 and 16 at Nehru Centre, Worli, said association chairperson Ramesh Prabhu.
In a memorandum to chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and BMC commissioner Ajoy Mehta, a consultative panel of the HSMS has appealed to them to actively involve societies to decongest roads.
With an average of 1,650 vehicles per kilometre of road length, creative thinking and solutions for mobility of citizens is required, the memorandum states.
“With 33 lakh vehicles plying 2,000 km of narrow motorable roads in Mumbai, chaos will continue to chase us each day. Illegal parking by a majority of the 14 lakh three and four- wheelers and 19 lakh two-wheelers further shrinks the scarce public spaces. Over and above this, BMC estimates suggest 85,000 clunkers are illegally dumped along prime roads, affecting pedestrian and vehicular traffic. All of this has led to air quality plummeting,” Prabhu pointed out.
“Chauffeured or self-driven society vehicles or pooled vehicles by society members such as battery-powered golf-carts will reduce the inducement to buy expensive parking space and store a seldom driven car in it. Societies must provide a pool of cycles or battery-operated cars to encourage members to pedal for close distances to prevent pollution and improve their health,” said Indrani Malkani, chaiperson of V Citizens Action Network (VCAN).
Mukund Rao and Dilip Raghavan, directors of Intelize Expo Pvt Ltd, the organisers of HSMS-2018, said the event will facilitate ideas, knowledge and execution support to empower societies and its members.