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Cars parked...in plans

Plan out the work and work out the plan, they say. But the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) seems to believe in only the first half of the axiom. It has been planning, planning and only planning for the past seven years to construct 14 automatic multi-level parking in areas such as Greater Kailash II, Defence Colony, South Extension parts I and II and Rajouri Garden.

delhi Updated: Apr 22, 2010 00:53 IST
Neelam Pandey

Plan out the work and work out the plan, they say.

But the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) seems to believe in only the first half of the axiom.

It has been planning, planning and only planning for the past seven years to construct 14 automatic multi-level parking in areas such as Greater Kailash II, Defence Colony, South Extension parts I and II and Rajouri Garden.

Construction work has begun on not a single project.

The civic body, MCD, looks over 96 per cent of Delhi and 99 per cent of its population — had made tall claims of building 24 conventional ramp-style parking lots in 2003. This plan too has turned out to be a paper tiger.

The New Delhi area under the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) fares no better. The civic body hasn’t finished building even one of the three multi-level parking lots planned for the area.

The work has begun in Baba Kharak Singh Marg and Sarojini Nagar. But the parking lot at Kasturba Gandhi Marg continues to be a pipe dream.

Fund Rot

The MCD collected Rs 247 crore from traders as parking charges when the status of certain stretches was changed from residential to commercial/mixed land use in keeping with the Master Plan of Delhi 2021 a few years ago.

That money could have fetched Delhi at least 61 conventional parking lots, each catering to 100 vehicles. But not a single rupee has been spent.

“All they do is make plans,” said Pankaj Aggarwal, general secretary, Delhi resident welfare association (RWA).

Traders operating from these stretches complain of choked roads, traffic jams and lack of basic facilities in markets where the civic agency was supposed to build parking and other facilities.

The traders find themselves in a no-win situation and the Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) has recommended the residential status of these stretches be restored.

The only response one garners from the civic agency is ‘consultants have been hired to formulate a parking plan’.

“We are trying to come up with strip parking on these stretches. It will be implemented soon,” MCD commissioner KS Mehra told HT.

Lack of parking space in the commercial areas has resulted in many markets becoming out of bound for shoppers.

“Shoppers will jostle for space once or twice, but if parking their vehicle becomes a difficult task, they will simply stop coming to the markets. This has already started happening,” said VK Arora, an RWA member of East Delhi’s Kiran Vihar.

South Ex stuttering in snarls

Clutter, chaos and crowd are thorns in the crown of one of Delhi’s favourite shopping haunts.

Known to all who drive down

to the busy South Extension market in South Delhi, there’s no way of escaping the chaos and confusion in the bazaar.

With no parking facility available, people are forced to park their vehicles on the service roads .

“The multi-level parking lot is nowhere to be seen. People naturally end up parking their vehicles at any empty space they can find. So they have started using the service lane,” said PK Sehgal, a South Ex businessman.

Traders allege the main entrance to the market has been shut by the traffic police forcing people to use the other inner roads.

“A number of shoppers don’t even know the other routes so they have stopped coming,” Sehgal said. Fights over parking space are commonplace and illegal parking is flourishing.

Shoppers shying away from Greater Kailash

The posh M-block market in Greater Kailash-I is one of the busiest markets in Delhi.

Naturally, the area is plagued by problems of bad traffic management leading to huge snarls in the market.

“All they do is talk. For the past five years the MCD is telling us they will come up with a multi-level parking lot but nothing has come of that plan so far. It seems unlikely anything will happen in future,” said Arun Gupta, a member of the GK-I main road traders association.

“All shop owners have deposited their parking charges but the facilities the MCD is supposed to provide is nowhere to be seen. They are quick to seal our shops if we fail to deposit conversion or parking charges. Shouldn’t action be taken action the MCD for not delivering on time?”

Gupta further said the traffic congestion due to lack of parking facilities has led to a decline in the number of shoppers.

“There are a number of malls nearby, such as the ones in Saket, where people prefer to go now.”

World famous Khan Market strives for NDMC’s attention

Driving down the Subramanyam Bharti Marg, you know you are near Khan Market when you encounter a long queue of cars waiting patiently with their indicators blinking.

This upscale horseshoe-shaped market simply does not have enough parking facilities to meet the influx of the increasing number of customers.

“There is no dedicated parking facility available in the market, which is why all the traders got together to create a free parking facility. We also hired 25 attendants to help the customers’ park their vehicle comfortably. But still the market encounters traffic jams every day,” said Brij Khosla, secretary of traders’ association, Khan Market.

There are 156 shops in the market and traders have been requesting the NDMC to create a dedicated parking facility for the market.

“Khan Market is known around the world but if the basic infrastructure will not be in place why would people come here?” he said.

Karol Bagh cacophony

It is one of oldest shopping centres in the Capital. It’s health has

been affected by the recent spate of traffic congestions and lack of parking facilities.

“If the shopper will have to spend two hours looking for a place to park his car, why would he want to visit Karol Bagh when he has so many other options?” said Satinder Singh of Karol Bagh traders’ association. “Our business is being affected drastically. The government must pay attention to this.”

The traders of this market have been demanding the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) to construct a multi-level parking lot in the nearby Shastri Park for the past 10 years.

Nothing has been done so far. “They had promised us the parking lot will be ready by June 2010. But the work hasn’t even begun,” he said.

“In the absence of a dedicated parking facility, the parking mafia is making hay and charges anything between Rs 50 to 100 for manning the vehicle.”

No place to walk in Lajpat Nagar market

Our clientele has been reduced by 50 per cent due to the traffic congestion and lack of parking facilities in the area,” said DN Rajpal, the secretary of Lajpat Nagar market association.

“This market is a prime example of lack of planning and co-ordination between various agencies.”

Restricting the flow of traffic from two-way to one-way, breaking the central verge to create more parking space — everything has been tried by the traders and the traffic police, but none of the steps has yielded any result.

“The cars are parked in multiple rows on both sides of the road and even in the middle. This leaves barely any space for vehicles to move, causing jams,” Rajpal said.

“There is just no place to walk. Naturally people will think twice before coming to this market.”

Traders allege that the parking contractors allow more vehicles to be parked at a designated place in a haphazard manner leading to chaos in the entire market.