Following the cancellation and blacklisting of parking contractor Bhola and Company for the multi-level parking at DC office complex recently, fresh auction of the parking lot was held on Friday, fetching the highest bid of Rs 95 lakh.
Found guilty of overcharging, misbehaviour and harassing public following an enquiry conducted on orders of Deputy Commissioner(DC) Rajat Aggarwal and multiple complaints by city residents, the DC blacklisted the company on December 17.
However, the move also came under criticism as the contract was not cancelled and finally, on December 20, the DC cancelled the contract and ordered fresh auction.
Bhola and Company won the bid for Rs 64.15 lakh in June this year, and the contract was given till March 2015. Challenging the DC orders, Bhola and Company moved court.
As per the enquiry report of the DC office, the contractor was charging as high as Rs 40 for four-wheelers against the rate of Rs 23. Morphed receipts were also being issued.
On Friday, the winner of the bid, Shyam Sunder, has also been permitted to operate the Car Bazaar on Sundays. Talking to Newsline, Ajay Sood, Sub-Divisional Magistrate, who supervised the auction, said, “We have allowed the new contractor to run the Car Bazaar on Sundays as the parking lot remains vacant. This will add to his income, but on the other hand, parking rates have been reduced for common public.”
“Parking for four-wheelers is now Rs 20 while that of two-wheelers is Rs 10. Figures have been rounded up to avoid arguments on ‘currency change’. The triple rate charging for parking going beyond six hours has been removed as we noticed that people commonly spend more than six hours due to court hearings.
Now, from 8.30 am to 5.30 pm, the rate will be same throughout the day,” added Sood. As per orders from the Punjab and Haryana High Court on December 24, judges Ashutosh Mohunta and Raj Rahul Garg said, “The respondents may go ahead with the auction. However, the same shall not be confirmed.”
Bhola and Company claimed in the court that “without being at any default”, the parking lot is being re-auctioned before expiry of its tenure. The district administration will now file the written reply in the High Court on January 6. “The lot will be handed over to the new contractor only after final orders of the HC,” said SDM Sood.
Kuldeep Singh Khaira, who submitted proofs of overcharging by the previous contractor, said, “The reduced rates are a step in right direction by the administration. and the contractor will now compensate his earning from the Car Bazaar instead of overcharging from the public.”