There was widespread opposition to the paidparking system in SAS Nagar, introduced in the city from Tuesday, forcing the MC to put it on hold, till further discussions take place and after differences are ironed out.
Shopkeepers arguing with a parking contractor at Phase-10 market in SAS Nagar on Tuesday; (and right) barricades and ropes strewn around at the market after the protests.
In several areas, members of the local market associations forcibly vacated the parking lots, and the barricades put up by the contractor were forcibly removed. This created panic among the staff employed by the contractor and they preferred to flee.
The protest started at around 10:30am, when members of the All Mohali Market Association gathered at the Phase-5 market.
Soon, a report started doing the rounds that the parking staff had misbehaved with a girl at one of the Phase-10 parking lots over change. Shopkeepers protested and the staff again fled the spot.
President of All Mohali Market Association Jatinder Pal Singh said, “We had warned the authorities not to introduce paid parking in the internal markets. We will not allow the system to function. If they want to start this in the outer markets like Sector 70 and 71, they are welcome.”
Suresh Kumar Lucky, former MC councillor and president of Market Welfare Association, Phase-5, said, “This move will hit our business. Most people already prefer to shop at Chandigarh. With the introduction of paid parking, nobody will come here. We strongly oppose it and will also give representation to the municipal corporation.” “We introduced the paid parking system after consulting the market welfare associations. Why are they opposing it now? Everything was done with consultation and tenders were awarded through e-bidding. We will again hold talks on the issue,” said MC commissioner Uma Shankar Gupta.
A contractor told Hindustan Times: “I have paid ` 23 lakh for the contract and am now not being allowed to function. Why did the MC introduce the system, when they were aware of the opposition?” It was only last month that the MC invited tenders through e-bidding and earned ` 82 lakh from the process. The Phase-7 lots went for the highest amount of ` 26 lakh against a reserve price of ` 7 lakh; the Phase 3B2 slot went for 23 lakh against a reserve price of ` 5 lakh. It was decided to levy ` 2 per scooter or motorcycle and ` 5 per car at the 19 main parking lots in the city from March 11.