From April 1, visiting Khan Market will become a slightly costly affair.
The 'free parking' facility provided by the Khan Market traders' association so far is all set to go with the NDMC taking up the entire area and calling for tenders to manage the parking lot there.
The lack of parking space usually causes traffic jams in and around Khan Market, with vehicles lining up on the Subramaniam Bharti Marg. The Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) has now directed the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) to charge parking fee from visitors.
"We should not give incentive to people to bring their vehicles to the market. To deter people from coming in their personal vehicles we have to start charging a fee. Due to the free parking here, a number of people park their vehicles for hours. This leads to traffic jams in and around the market," said Bhure Lal, EPCA chairman.
As per the new rates, vehicles will be charged R10 for two hours. Sources say, during a meeting on Saturday to discuss Khan Market's parking problem, the authority had suggested that NDMC charge R50 per hour to park vehicles.
"The NDMC will call for tenders and a contractor will be given the charge of running the parking lot. In the meeting, EPCA members also suggested that the market should only be for pedestrians and vehicles should not be allowed inside," said a senior official. According to sources, the committee has also asked the traders not to use the park behind Khan Market to park vehicles.
Understandably, the traders' association, which manages the parking lots at present, is unhappy with the decision. "A number of people who want to use the Metro service park their vehicles in the market and we can't stop them. Why did they construct a station without providing parking facility? We are managing the parking space quite well so why take that away from us?" said Sanjeev Mehra, president of Khan Market Traders' Association.
Recently, a restaurant manager had died in Khan Market after an altercation with another car driver over scanty parking space.
The parking problem has been intensifying in this market even as it has been listed as the 21st most expensive retail space in the world and the costliest in India by global real estate consultants Cushman and Wakefield last year.