This Monday, the Deputy Commissioner of Imphal West issued an order prohibiting parking of vehicles on both sides of RIMS Road and Uripok Canteen Road citing easing traffic flow on these important stretches. Although we fail to understand why should the district administration allow parking of vehicles at all. Before we come to that, let us examine the issue of roadside parking. In most cities across the country and around the world, it has been made mandatory for every commercial establishment to create their own parking spaces. Roadside parking has been banned almost everywhere, in an effort to decongest the roads and facilitate free flow of traffic. We are of the opinion that roadside parking should be banned not only in the commercial zones, but in residential areas also. In many parts of Imphal, one will find vehicles parked in the main roads and leikai roads. Perhaps, the time has come for the government and municipal authorities to enact a law to prohibit vehicle parking on all roads and to make it mandatory for every vehicle owner to have their own parking spaces for their vehicles in their Ingkhols or rent commercial garages.
The problem with RIMS Road and Uripok Canteen Road is that these roads lead to various hospitals including RIMS, Shija Hospitals and a host of private hospitals and nursing homes. Besides, these roads host a number of ancillary services related to hospitals like diagnostic labs, pharmacies, dental and eye clinics etc. It is also necessary for authorities to ensure free flow of traffic for vehicles like emergency services like ambulances and other private vehicles carrying patients on the way to the hospitals. The most recent order speaks of allowing parking on only one side of the road. We have to understand that there are two parking modes. One is short duration parking for a few minutes to avail some services and buy something. The other is idle parking, which should be completely banned. Shop owners, salespersons and people living on both side of the road are the main culprits for idle parking. It is happening in almost all commercial areas in Imphal city. Instead of availing their own parking spaces, these commercial establishments encroach upon the footpath also for display of their wares and the adjacent public road for parking of their staff vehicles and of the shoppers. So, pedestrians are forced to walk in the middle part of the road as the portion next to the footpath was blocked by parked vehicles.