Already reeling under a loss of about Rs 50 lakh due to non-auction of five parking lots in the past eight months, the MC got more trouble on hand as a contractor surrendered the Empire Store parking lot in Sector 17 last week, around four months before his one-year contract was to end.
The contractor, Fariyad Ali, gave in writing to the civic body his inability to continue due to "heavy losses". He also urged the MC to increase parking charges which he suggested be fixed at Rs 5 for two hours and Rs 10 thereafter.
Despite the fact that parking lots have been assigned under the jurisdiction of three officials in the past nine years, the issue has remained a headache for the municipal corporation of Chandigarh.
Introduced in 2003, the paid parking system remained under the engineering wing till 2007, then sub-divisional engineer (SDE), headquarters, and presently the enforcement wing for the past two months.
It is pertinent to mention here that nobody has come forward to take on contract the five parking lots lying vacant despite relaxation in terms and conditions. As many as 24 paid parking lots in the city generate Rs 4 crore per year for the MC.
Contractors rued that no the terms and conditions for the auction of parking lots were "harsh", claiming that no one would come forward to bid for them.
Speaking to Hindustan Times, MC additional commissioner Lalit Siwach said, "I have recently taken charge. Since the contractors are running away due to rigid terms and conditions, we will review and relax the same. Hopefully, it will be done within a couple of weeks."
When contacted, contractor Fariyad Ali said, "It is very difficult to work under such strict guidelines. We do not earn anything from these parking lots as half of our income goes in paying fines for violation of norms."