Written by Rasseerat Kohli
A day after Municipal Corporation (MC) Chandigarh scrapped its contract with the firm managing the parking lots of the city, the civic officials, irrespective of the ranks of sanitary inspectors, data entry operators, junior engineers or enforcement inspectors, donned the role of the paid parking lot attendants on Tuesday.
All men staffers were on duty from 8 am to 9 pm. Issuing of slips through e-ticketing machines was replaced by the manual method, though people were charged the same hiked rates on Tuesday.
Unable to get the vehicles regulated or helping people find vacant spots, taking longer to chip out parking tickets manually and safeguarding the vehicles against any damage were the problems faced on Tuesday.
A visit to Sector 17 parking lots found that the four-wheeler space was being used to park two-wheelers.
Also, the staff of the Municipal Corporation faced problems on the first day such as lack of first-hand experience and absence of provision of basic amenities like water and refreshments.
One major problem, which the MC officials on Tuesday faced was non-compliance by the public as the latter presumed that parking lots were free because the contract had been cancelled.
“Some drivers went to the extent of hurling abuses at us and were reluctant to pay the tariff,” an inspector, on condition of anonymity, said.
Joint Commissioner, MC, Tejdeep Saini on Monday had convened a meeting at community centre in Sector 38 of all the personnel who were to man the parking lots.
The meeting went on for three hours, starting at 6.30 pm. On the other hand, parking attendants employed with the firm, Arya Toll Infra, who lost their jobs after the cancellation of the contract, protested in Sector 17.
According to the company, a total of 484 workers, especially 150 women who were mostly bread-winners of their family, in the age group of 18-45 have lost their jobs.
“We will go on to pursue this case legally,” HR Manager of the Arya Toll Infra Akansha said, adding the company is yet to locate 70 per cent of its missing equipment, inventories and devices.
Meanwhile, in Sector 8, people were seen stopping their vehicle in non assigned zone. Sudhir Sharma, a private company employee, said, “There is still confusion about the parking fees.”
(With inputs from Komal Kashyap)