Chandigarh, September 21
Even as the Municipal Corporation is itself operating paid parking lots in the city for eight months, there is no change at the ground level and these facilities remain devoid of even basic requirements. On the top of it, motorists are being charged fee for “smart” facilities.
The contract of two agencies, which had been managing 89 parking lots, ended in January this year. From February onwards, the civic body has been running the lots, but it failed to set an example even after eight months of operating the crucial public facilities.
Leave alone “smart” parking lots, even basic facilities are not available with motorists bearing the brunt of it. Lack of attendants, haphazardly parked vehicles and no security are some of the common problems faced by vehicle owners.
Not a single facility has the required number of attendants. As a consequence, unguided drivers don’t park vehicles at designated slots, adding to chaos at the parking lots. On the other hand, the MC charges the same amount which the previous contractors had been charging for “smart” parking.
At present, Rs 7 is charged for a two-wheeler and Rs 14 for a four-wheeler for a single visit. The fee in parking lots outside malls is as high as Rs 28 for a four-wheeler.
Earlier, a proposal to make all parking lots free till the new agency is hired was rejected by councillors during an MC House meeting. “When smart parking is not provided, why charge higher rates?” asked Rajesh Gupta, a college student and a resident of Sector 35.
“It is just an entry fee. You pay and get in. You will not find space and no one will be there to guide you. What are the charges for?” questioned Baljinder Singh Bittu, chairman, Federation of Sectors Welfare Association Chandigarh (FOSWAC).
RK Garg, president, Second Innings Association, said, “Senior citizens don’t get designated space at parking lots. After 8 pm, most facilities are abandoned. If the MC is unable to run the parking lots, it should hand these over to market welfare associations.” Complaining of mismanagement, visitors said since two-wheelers were parked at spaces meant for four-wheelers or vice versa, space issues cropped up. Chaotic scenes are often witnessed in lots of major markets, including the ones in Sectors 35, 34, 17, 26, 7 and 9. “It becomes difficult to reach the footpath or the market area due to the haphazardly parked vehicles,” said another visitor.
City-based social activist and environmentalist Likhmaram Budania suggested, “These problems persist across cities as vehicles are increasing with each passing day. Public transport as well as cycles should be promoted. This is the only solution.”
Meanwhile, MC officials said they had been managing the parking lots as a stopgap arrangement. “Parking rates have been finalised and soon a new contractor will be hired for running the lots in a professional manner. We are also going to introduce FASTag-based payments,” said an official.
MC Commissioner Anindita Mitra said, “We have identified gaps in infrastructure and are tendering to all items one by one. Like, we have provided infrastructure for differently-abled. The remaining issues will also be addressed once a contractor is engaged.”
Points to poor state of affairs
- Contract of two agencies managing 89 parking lots in the city ended in January this year
- From February onwards, MC has been operating parking lots, but it failed to improve state of affairs
- Most parking lots remain devoid of basic requirements even as motorists pay for ‘smart’ facilities
Fee not justified
It is just an entry fee. You pay and get in. You will not find space and no one will be there to guide you. What are the charges for? — BS Bittu, chairman, FOSWAC
Matter of time
We have identified gaps in infrastructure and tendering to it one by one. Remaining issues will also be addressed once a contractor is engaged. — Anindita Mitra, MC chief
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