Written by SALIQ PARVAIZ
THE NEW multilevel parking lot at Sector 1 in Panchkula, which started functioning from January 1, is riddled with incomplete work. This multilevel parking is part of the Mini Secretariat building, with three floors for parking and three for offices. Multiple civil offices, such as District Court, DC Office and Tehsil Panchkula, are located in the area.
The three-level parking, having a capacity to hold 360 vehicles, has a lot of constructional work still pending. Lal Chand Saran, contractor, in charge of the parking facility, said, “There are wires hanging from ceilings. Lights are not operational. The light signs for the exits are also not working and work of painting is still incomplete.”
The floor-to-ceiling height, which should ideally be 2.7 metres, is barely 2 metres resulting in vehicles such as SUVs scraping the ceiling. “Many vehicles scrape the ceiling at the curves and the ceiling has fallen off,” said the contractor. The antennas of the cars scrape against the ceiling, some even break.
Though it has not even been a month since the facility has been opened for public use, the tiles have already started to come off. “The tiles used in the parking space are so slippery that cars skid at times. Around 5-6 people fall everyday slipping on these tiles,” said one of the employees at the facility.
People, using the parking facility, are also having problems getting their cars in and out of the building. “There isn’t enough space at the turns leading to the exits,” said Anmol Mittal, a car owner. This lack of space leads to several halts as drivers take longer to make the curve avoiding bumping against the walls. “On an average, 20 cars a day get scratches on their bumpers at the curves. The workers are sent every day to apply putty on the walls so that no one can see them,” Saran added.
Raw materials, such as pipes and rolls of wire that have to be used in the construction, are also kept at the parking lot, occupying space meant for vehicles. “I paid Rs 23 lakh 51 thousand to acquire the contract for this facility. These materials are taking up the place and affect the daily revenue of the facility. There are pipes lying around which can roll or slide and result in an accident anytime,” said Saran. He further said that PWD gave the contract to a private contractor in 2015 and asked him to complete the project in 18 months. Not only has the contractor failed to complete the work, but will still require another six months to complete it.
With the work in progress and the facility being used at the same time, there is a constant threat of someone getting hurt. “Sometimes a spare part or a tool falls from above on the cars resulting in damage and then we have to deal with angry owners,” said Saran.
The fire safety equipment such as sprinklers, although installed, are not functional which when coupled with exposed wiring, ongoing construction and continuous flow of cars is an accident waiting to happen.
Talking about the flow of cars at the facility, Saran said, “The parking space is mostly packed, but there are still people, who park their vehicles illegally on the roadside.”
Though Saran has requested the traffic police to look into the matter, it still persists. “They send the towing van once or twice after receiving a complaint and then things are back to usual,” he said. Even though traffic police are present outside, people still park their cars on the roads unquestioned.