Free Press Journal

Bhopal: As vendors oppose ‘pink parking’, women say monitoring, mgmt more important


BHOPAL: To protect women from harassment and eve-teasing by ruffians and anti-social elements, a ‘pink parking’ (exclusively for women) is being developed at Ganesh Chowk (across the road from SBI main branch) in the city’s busiest business district New Market by the association of businessmen of the area. The project has hit a roadblock with the vendors occupying the space refusing to vacate it.

The parking lot would be developed on the 60×60 ft Ganesh Chowk, where 48 street vendors are running their businesses. It will accommodate 146 two-wheelers and will be under CCTV surveillance. The parking will be free and trolleys will be available for women who want to shop in the market.

On International Women’s Day in 2015, the Vyapari Sangh had earmarked a special ‘Pink Parking’ for women in front of Kwality Restaurant in the market with space for 60 two-wheelers. But it is no longer an ‘exclusive’ facility for women due to lack of monitoring. Free Press spoke to women two-wheeler riders to know what they thought about it. Do they really think a reserved parking will be useful for them in any way?

Amruta Sambhalker, artist
I don’t think so. On the on hand we talk of gender equality and declare that men and women are equal, while on the other we are discriminating between them by taking such initiatives. I think a separate parking for women is not the solution for the parking problems in New Market. If the existing arrangements are properly streamlined and managed, no one will face any problem.

Priyanka Tripathi, software engineer
It is true such initiatives do entail some sort of discrimination but at the same time it is good for women’s safety. We feel insecure while parking, especially after dark. We have to endure lewd comments and eve-teasing. There is already an only-women parking lot in New Market but for want of monitoring, even men are parking their vehicles there. So, having an exclusive parking area is not enough. Proper monitoring is a must.

Farzana Patowari, freelance writer
I think it should be done. It is a very good initiative. There is already a women parking lot near Kwality Restaurant but men also park their vehicle here.

Shalini Malviya, media student
I think it is not a question of men or women but of making proper parking arrangements for all visitors. Finding a place to park your vehicle is a Herculean task in all busy markets of the city. More area should be made available for parking. Also, there should be attendants in all parking lots.

Shruti Kriti Barik, ballet choreographer
All visitors to New Market face parking problem. Sometime people park cars or heavy bikes behind smaller two-wheelers. In such a situation, we have to wait till the vehicle owner comes or we have to ask others to help us. From convenience point of view, ‘pink parking’ is good for women two-wheeler riders, especially for middle aged women like me.

“Our objective is to protect our mothers and sisters from harassment and eve-teasing at the hands of ruffians and anti-social elements. Women entering New Market through Ganesh Chowk (across the road from SBI main branch) regularly face harassment. It is difficult for them to make their way through the crowd of vendors and buyers. Many have to face unwelcome stares, vulgar comments and intentional touches. It is ‘positive discrimination’. Doesn’t the government have special schemes for women? Haven’t posts been reserved for women in government jobs? The parking lot has been designed by Krishna K Dhote, a professor of architecture in MANIT and the map has been duly approved by BMC. The work will begin from Thursday and, god willing, will be completed within 10 days. Vyapari Sangh will pick the tab for the Rs 10 lakh project.”
Satish Kumar Gangrade, president, New Market Vyapari Sangh