The UT Forest Department, on Wednesday, concluded that the kutcha parking space at Punjab and Haryana High Court does not fall under forest cover of Chandigarh. The conclusion was made on the basis of a complaint filed with UT Administration on July 19, which stated that Punjab and Haryana Bar Association cannot charge parking fee from vehicle drivers in kutcha parking as the land falls under Chandigarh’s forest cover.
Chief Conservator of Forests Debendra Dalai said, “We checked the kutcha parking space, which is spread over almost one and half acre near Punjab and Haryana High Court. It does not fall in the forest cover. Indeed, it can be a land of UT Administration but UT Forest Department has nothing to do with it. During the spot inspection by our team, some of the members of the bar association informed us that the bar association was allowed to use this space temporarily for parking vehicles.”
The Bar Association, on July 20, decided to charge Rs 30 as parking fee from four-wheelers being parked at the kutcha parking near the High Court. The association banned the entry of buses and other heavy vehicles in the kutcha parking and it exempted practising advocates from paying the parking fee.
President of Punjab and Haryana Bar Association, Advocate DPS Randhawa, said, “Since the first day we have claimed that the kutcha parking does not fall under forest land. Kutcha parking area is a part of the High Court’s expansion plan. We were allowed to use the kutcha parking in a systematic way with the intervention of UT Administrator. The issue of parking fee of Rs 30 will be discussed in the executive meeting of Bar council members. We want to outsource parking attendants. Parking is a big problem at the High Court and The UT Administration has kept its eyes closed towards the issue for many years.”
As the parking of heavy vehicles like trucks and buses was banned at the kutcha parking lot, these vehicles are now being parked on the green belt at Uttar Marg. On July 14, a Punjab Police ASI and parking attendants here even got into a heated argument over parking issue and the matter even reached Sector 3 police station. Later, a compromise was struck between the two parties.