Started after much hue and cry, paid parking hasn't been able to solve traffic chaos in the busy markets of the city. The contractor firm seems little interested in addressing the issue beyond charging the parking fee, making it the sole beneficiary of this entire project that was started to solve the common people's problem.
Scrapped around a year ago, it was again commenced in April in Phase 7, Phase 5 and 3B2 markets of the city. The initiative had evoked controversies and several protests. While the parking fee - now planned to be extended up to 19 main parking lots - for two-wheelers is `2, it's Rs 5 for cars.
A visit to these markets revealed chaos at every parking point and showed no sign of improvement. Those at parking do nothing accept providing slips and collecting money. As soon as one gets out, nobody cares to collect tickets.
Commenting on the issue, councillor Kuljit Bedi said, “Instead of solving the problem of traffic chaos, it has added to chaos as people have now started parking on roadside to get rid of paid parking. Workers don't even check tickets when a commuter comes out of the parking lot. As far as the revenue is concerned, the MC isn't earning much, though more could have been earned by putting advertisements. The issue will be raised in the first MC meet.”
JPS Construction, the firm that maintains these paid parking lots, was chosen last year after floating tenders and e-bidding. Though MC commissioner Uma Shankar Gupta had maintained the market welfare associations were consulted before starting the paid parking, the latter had rubbished these claims, and had staged several protests.
The MC had earned Rs 82 lakh from the tenders, and JPS Construction, which had bid for `23 lakh, was given the contract. The Phase-7 parking lot went for RS 26 lakh against the reserved price of Rs 7 lakh, while the Phase 3B2 lots went for `23 lakh against the reserved price of `5 lakh.
Chandigarh MC earns RS 4.5 a year
In Chandigarh, the MC earns around Rs 4.5 crore a year from a total of 24 paid parking lots. However, the issue of overcharging at Sukhna Lake and outside Elante mall had raised several questions over the functioning of the MC. After HT had highlighted the issue, the contracts were cancelled.
P'kula too mulling
As of now, there is no paid parking in the city but the civic body is mulling over to initiate it for long. The places that are most vulnerable to traffic chaos are Sectors 11, 7, 4, 10 and 6.