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Harshraj Singh, Hindustan Times
Ludhiana, February 12, 2014
Vehicle owners continue to pay from their nose for parking in lots along the Ferozepur Road here.
Two parking lots along the Ferozepur Road - one near the Silver Arc Mall and the other at Ansal Plaza — are still charging `30 for the first hour of parking, though the amount has been set as `15.

This has been the case despite the issue being highlighted in newspapers several times, and MC officials promising a permanent solution to the problem.  "We are being fleeced, but the MC is not paying any attention. I was charged `30 for the first hour, which is wrong," said Dr Surinder Gupta, general secretary of National Integrated Medical Association, Ludhiana. "There should be an automated system for issuing parking slips, so that visitors aren't deceived."

A source said MC officials were hand in glove with the parking contractors as the MC had not yet blacklisted contractors who were overcharging.

Rajinder Singh, a city resident, described the practice of overcharging for parking at the lots along Ferozepur Road as a failure of the MC. "I had once ended up in an argument after the staff at one of the parking lots overcharged?" Rajinder said, adding: "We park our vehicles to ensure their safety, but then even the parking slip says that the contractor won't be responsible if the vehicle was stolen," he said.

"If we don't charge `30, then the contractor asks us to pay the difference. I am just following the directions of the parking contractor," said an employee of a parking lot taken on lease by Radha Raman Contractor Private Limited. He, however, refused to divulge the contact number of his employer.

The Punjab and Haryana high court (HC) had recently allowed visitors to the parking lots to park vehicles for up to four hours. Earlier, there were allowed to park only for two hours.

Contacted, MC commissioner Rahul Tewari said they were going to cancel the contracts of all parking lots along the road. "The new contracts will be given soon," he said. "The rate for parking fee will be fixed by the MC." He, however, did not give an exact date when the parking lots would be auction again.

On plans to blacklist contractors who were violating norms, he said the Tehbazari wing would decide on it.