Free parking at Khan Market may come to an end with the Khan Market Traders Association (KMTA) unable to pay the high monthly fees of Rs 5.34 lakh to the civic agency in lieu of keeping the facility free of cost for shoppers.
Meanwhile, a Delhi High Court-appointed Special Task Force (STF) has submitted its report recommending charging Rs 50 per hour, five times the existing rate, for parking in the posh market to encourage people to use public transport.
According to sources in the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), the traders' association has asked the agency to slash the monthly rates charged since mid-2011 but the latter is unlikely to relent.
"If the traders cannot pay the fees, the NDMC will have to start imposing parking charges on shoppers based on STF recommendations," said a senior official of NDMC.
According to the traders' association, they have requested the NDMC to slash the monthly rental by at least half. Their argument is that most of the parking in the market is run free of cost and some of the people supposed to pay the parking charges are not obliging.
"We are running two-thirds of the parking area for free and only charge parking fee from vehicles parked in only a third of the total area. Even so, cars that turn up in the paid parking area have red beacons or VIP stickers and refuse to pay," said Sanjiv Mehra, KMTA president.
He added, "On top of that there are vehicles parked by NDMC members with whom we have frequent tussles over payment of parking fee." There are reportedly around 33 NDMC members occupying quarters near Khan Market area. The current charge for area earmarked as paid parking is R10 per two hours and R10 per hour thereon.
Chairman of a Supreme Court-appointed monitoring committee Bhure Lal said the current stand of the association has only vindicated their stand. "We had earlier made it clear that parking fees has to be imposed. Now after agreeing to the terms and conditions of keeping it free, the traders are facing problem," he said.