Over a thousand commuters who park their two-wheelers at the parking space outside Shivajinagar railway station are cheated everyday.
The parking charge for a two-wheeler is Rs 5 (for six hours) but the contractor takes Rs 10.
This,railway officials admit,has been going on for months and they say though they had penalised the contractor in the past,he continues to defy the rules.
The contractor cleverly hides the rate for two-wheelers in the receipt by positioning the date stamp over it. The charges stipulated by Railways are Rs 5 per two-wheeler for six hours and Rs 10 for a four-wheeler for four hours but the contractor uses the stamp on the receipt in such a way that the customer cant read the part where it is mentioned that Rs 5 is the charge for two-wheelers and only that part that shows Rs 10 which,is actually for four-wheelers,can be seen.
A board displaying parking charges installed at the bay it is placed in such a way that customers can hardly notice it.
On Wednesday,when this reporter visited the parking bay posing as a customer,the person at the cash counter handed over a receipt and asked for Rs 10. When he was told that the railway rule said Rs 5 for two-wheelers,the man said if the bike has to be parked Rs 10 has to be paid. When his receipt book was inspected,all the receipts were stamped similarly.
Sudhir Sutar,a Bank of Baroda employee who regularly parks his bike at the parking bay said,I park my two-wheeler for about 24 hours and they charge me Rs 40. I was unaware I was being cheated.
When the matter was brought to the notice of Noor Mohammad,Station Master,Shivajinagar,he said it was a perennial problem and he had fined the contractor recently. The contract has been given to one Mahendra Thakkar. About two months ago I fined him Rs 10,000 for overcharging customers and behaving rudely with them. But it seems they are doing it again. If a written complaint is filed with us,I will report it to the Divisional Commercial Manager, said Mohammad.
Vishal Aggarwal,Divisional Railway Manager,said overcharging is illegal and a serious matter. He said the matter will be investigated and if the contractor does not mend his ways,the contract would be nullified.