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Thursday, April 22, 2021

Chandigarh: Smart parking? Only on paper, otherwise nothing smart about this arrangement

Only a mere e-ticketing machine that gives you parking slip electronically does not make the parking smart.

Written by Hina Rohtaki | Chandigarh |
April 5, 2021 3:24:04 am
Chandigarh smart parking, Chandigarh parking, Chandigarh parking rules, Chandigarh news, india news, indian expressRush at parking lot in Sector 22 of Chandigarh on Sunday. (Express Photo by Kamleshwar Singh)

One has to make frequent rounds of a ‘smart’ parking lot in Chandigarh to find a space for parking. For, you enter the parking lot only to pay but not to be facilitated to find a parking space.

Only a mere e-ticketing machine that gives you parking slip electronically does not make the parking smart. Even as city residents shell out the parking fee, they struggle to find a parking space, sometimes even get their vehicle hit in search of a space or get stuck with people parking behind. But no one comes to help despite the fact that a parking attendant has to be there at every 50 metres to guide you and help you park your car.

The situation is the worst at parking lots of sectors 17, 22, 35 and other busy market lots.

Haphazard parking is one problem. Where cars are to be parked, two-wheelers are parked.

ENTER AND PARK AT YOUR OWN RISK

At the entry itself, one is charged the amount and then one has to park at his or her own risk. Despite the condition of having one person at a distance of every 50 metres to guide you to park, one won’t find anyone for help.

The situation is the worst at Sector 17 parking lots.

When one comes, he finds another commuter’s car parked behind and has to wait for hours to locate a suitable space. And yes, for parking attendants, there is no accountability.

“The parking attendants are meant just to collect money. Thereafter, no one is responsible for helping you to park your car. I don’t understand why there is no inspection or the officials really don’t want to inspect,” said Baljinder Singh Bittu, chairman of Federation of Sectors Welfare Association of Chandigarh.

Speaking to The Indian Express, Municipal Commissioner K K Yadav said that firms are in the process of making a mobile application wherein one can book a parking space.

“People will get to know before they begin their destination that how much parking space is available and they can even book their parking space using the app and pay for it online. The app is still under process and the contractors have been asked to make the app,” Yadav said.

The previous Mumbai-based parking firm that later left had started the mobile app where one could book a parking space.

That app didn’t work on technical grounds and later, things were back to manual system only.

Rs 12, Rs 6: A hassle for commuters

Ever since people have been asked to pay Rs 12 and Rs 6 for four-wheeler and two- wheeler respectively, there have been hassles. Such a rate has never been in force in Chandigarh because either it was Rs 10 or Rs 20.

Cars and two-wheelers make a beeline outside the parking lot looking for just Rs 2 and Re 1 change. By the time, a person gives the whole amount and is told to take the change back at the exit, there is no one to remember to return the change.

As people look for Rs 2 and Re 1 change at the entry point, several cars which have to enter make a beeline. In the process, main roads get blocked at times.

ALMOST FULL LAST YEAR’S DISCOUNT ALREADY GIVEN TO PARKING FIRMS

In November last year, as parking contractors had threatened to surrender the parking lots, the Municipal Corporation had announced quick exemption and gave discount on licence fee for the months of September, October and November to them.

The discount for these three months was given by the General House once rejecting the agenda.

After the officers conveyed the decision of the previous house meeting to the companies that they will have to pay 100 per cent licence fee for September, October and November as the COVID situation had normalised, the contractors sent a notice for reconsideration and that if they are firm on their decision, they won’t be able to run it.

Citing that coaching institutes, basically the educational hubs and malls, were closed that were big revenue generators, contractors had said that it wasn’t possible for them to give complete licence fee.

The firms had stated that in case the department is firm on its decision of 100 per cent licence fee, we may like to submit that it will not be feasible to operate the said parking lot at this rate until the situation is normalised.

The MC had already waived off complete licence fee from March 16, 2020, to May 31, 2020, and allowed deposit of only 35 per cent of licence fee from June 1 to August 31 for 32 parking lots (zone 1 contractor) and 45 per cent deposit of actual allotted licence fee for 57 parking lots for another contractor for the same period.

A committee had recommended that since “position is not completely normal as it used to be before COVID-19”, the licensee of 32 parking lots, Ram Sundar Prasad Singh, be allowed monthly licence fee for the month of September, 45 per cent of the actual allotted licence fee, for the month of October, 50 per cent of actual allotted licence fee and for the month of November 55 per cent of actual allotted licence fee.

It was also said that the licensee of 57 other paid parking lots be allowed to deposit 55 per cent of actual allotted licence fee for the month of September, 60 per cent for actual allotted licence fee for October and 65 per cent of actual allotted licence fee for November.

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