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Chandigarh

Posted at: Apr 17, 2018, 2:13 AM; last updated: Apr 17, 2018, 2:13 AM (IST)PARKING FEE HIKE

House proposes, Commissioner disposes

Yadav refuses rollback, says will send recommendation to Secy, Local Govt
House proposes, Commissioner disposes
Councillor Gurbax Rawat speaks during a House meeting at the MC building, Sector 17, Chandigarh, on Monday. NITIN MITTAL

Sandeep Rana

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 16

Despite much hullaballoo over the hike in parking rates and a 90-page F&CC inspection report pointing out a number of violations in parking lots, no rates could be rolled back during the monthly general house meeting here on Monday as MC Commissioner Jitender Yadav refused to do so citing the MoU signed with the company.

However, the House, on its part, unanimously resolved that the hike in the parking rates be immediately rolled back and the parking firm be served a termination notice over the violations. To this, the Commissioner said he would send the recommendations of the House to the Secretary, Local Government, i.e. the Home Secretary, with whom the final authority wrests.

“The House has resolved to terminate the contract and we will get it terminated and provide relief to city residents,” said Mayor Davesh Moudgil.

Earlier, former Mayor and councillor Raj Bala Malik, who was the chairperson of a committee formed by the Mayor to inspect paid parking lots, tabled its 90-page report highlighting a series of violations in the “smart parking lots”. She tore into the officials for doubling the parking rates twice within four months despite a number of discrepancies in the lots.

No marked space for vehicles, boom barriers, attendant at the mandated 50-metre area, staff uniform, many non-functional CCTV cameras and issues with digital boards were among the many violations at parking lots she listed in the House.

Congress councillor Gurbax Rawat, who was part of the inspection team, said, “It is surprising to see that the so-called smart lots are using ropes instead of the mandated chains in the parking space. Smart papers are being used instead of smart pass cards. Secondly, they have illegally converted road berms and the back lanes of showrooms into parking lots.” While listing the violations, another team member and BJP councillor Maheshinder Singh Sidhu sought to know what improvement had been made in the parking lots from the time when the car parking rates were Rs 5 and Rs 20 now.

Former Mayor Asha Jaswal, under whose tenure the parking rates were approved, too, sought a rollback in the hike in view of the violations pointed out in the report. Councillors Ravi Kant Sharma and Shakti Parkash Devshali, besides all nominated councillors, also slammed the revision in the parking charges.

Arun Sood favours firm

Councillor Arun Sood was the lone councillor who favoured the company over the hike in the parking rates. “There are no major discrepancies in the terms and conditions of the contract. The present system is far better than the previous one, run by various contractors. At that time, there used to be number of complaints regarding overcharging. The MC is in a financial crunch and the firm is paying Rs 14.76 crore a year, which will increase our revenue.”

To this, councillor Kanwarjeet Singh Rana shot back, “It (revenue) does not mean we start ‘sucking the blood of people’ and burden them with exorbitant parking rates.” 

Sood further suggested that for the violations, penalty should be imposed on the firm. 

Firm fails to clear licence fee

Despite the fact that the deadline to deposit the licence instalment fee of Rs 2.69 crore by the parking firm, Arya Toll Infra Ltd, with the MC has crossed, no action has been taken by the authorities concerned against the firm.

Of the total Rs 3.69 crore, only Rs 1 crore has been deposited. “There is a clause in the MoU that if the firm fails to pay within the stipulated time, without any notice, the contract can be terminated. However, the officials have not acted,” said the Mayor. 

MoU is Bible for us: MC Jt Commissioner

MC Joint Commissioner TS Saini said the MoU signed with the company was like a Bible for them. “We cannot go beyond what is written in it,” he said, adding that the MoU stated that the prices were to be revised from April 1. On this, the Mayor and councillors reminded him that legally both parties were bound to follow the MoU. They told him that in the event of violations, the contract could be terminated.

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