AS THE Municipal Corporation of Panchkula rolls out free parking in three markets of the city, and residents remain suspicious of this being the only way they can be eased into paying for parking later. MC Commissioner Rajesh Jogpal cleared the air by claiming that the effort was only to regularise parking in markets where parking is free and no discussions on paid parking have been floated in any way.
Talking to Newsline about the same, Jogpal said, “The parking facilities will remain free till an elected house of the MC decides to make it paid. The step has only been taken to help the people of the city by regularising parking spaces. We are not just regularising parking but also upgrading these spaces where public bathrooms, a shelter and availability of RO water will be provided.”
A resident who frequents the Sector 8 market, however said, “Panchkula is barely overcrowded. Many of the parking lies vacant. When there are no existent parking problems in the city, then why is the MC so keen on regularising it, even when they do not need it. There are much better places the MC can spend that money on.”
The MC has also decided that once the project is up and running, it will start fining people found not parking at designated places.
In the first phase, staff has been deployed in sectors 8, 9 and 10 where as many as 12 men, including four each at a single parking have been deployed. Though, no formal budget for the same has been prepared yet, an amount of Rs 14,000 is being given to each of these 12 men working for the MC, informed Jogpal. Two men each at entry and exit of these parking lots have started issuing parking tickets, free of cost for now, while directing and helping people to park their vehicles.
The second phase, which will include parking of Sectors 7, 11 and 15 will be rolled out next month, depending on the feedback they collect from the current system.
The step is being taken in accordance with the idea of making Panchkula a smart city in the near future. “Paid and managed parking is a must to get the city a smart city tag,” said Jogpal.
Going by the commissioner’s claims, paid parking lies in the distant future, as the MC cannot not have an elected body till the on-going case in the High Court is cleared and settled, but people seem suspicious and defy the step tooth and nail.