Hindustan Times spoke with the Municipal Corporation of Delhi Commissioner K.S. Mehra on the way ahead towards unravelling the capital’s knotty parking. Excerpts:
Parking has become a huge problem in the city with people jostling for space. What is the MCD doing about it? The multi-level parking projects that were planned for seven years are yet to be executed. Why the delay?
Parking is a genuine problem. We have started work on our multi-level parking lots and they should help ease the burden to a large extent.
More than Rs. 247 crore have been collected as parking charges by the MCD from the traders but the parking facility is no where to be seen. Why has nothing been done so far?
Consultants have been appointed to draw up a plan. They have suggested that 'strip' parking be created on these stretches. This kind of parking is done along the roadside.
Providing efficient parking facility is one of the major responsibilities of MCD. Where do you think the MCD is faltering as far as creating parking facilities are concerned?
New houses are being constructed by people all the time, wherein rather than making arrangement for parking space, they prefer to pay parking charges and expect the civic agency to create space for them, as there is a provision for this the Master Plan of Delhi 2021. This can't be done. Instead of creating parking slots in their houses they take the easy way out and choose to pay. This provision in the Master Plan of Delhi 2021 needs to be reviewed. It should be made mandatory for anyone to create parking provision while constructing his/her house
A number of markets have become out of bounds for people due to traffic congestion and lack of parking facilities. What are you doing to check that?
Like London and Singapore, plans can be made to levy congestion tax on areas that are quite congested which will prohibit people from entering a congested market. It will also encourage people to leave their vehicle behind at a particular spot and shop in the market.
Are their any plans to increase the parking fees?
We are looking into the possibility of increasing the parking charges in the MCD area. We are planning to have differential parking rates with factors such as the location of the area andcongestion level.
From 800 surface parking lots (legal and illegal), merely 143 parking lots are left in the MCD area, which caters to 99 per cent of Delhiites? Where do you expect the people to park their cars?
Over the years the traffic police have rejected a number of our parking lots. We have identified 120 new parking spots and have decided to send it to the traffic police for approval. It will ease the problem to a certain extent for the time being.
People claim that they are harassed and fleeced by the parking mafia. Isn't it the job of the MCD to ensure people get efficient parking facility?
We have now got a team of 25 commandos who carry out surprise checks of the parking lots in the city. They will also ensure that people are not harassed by the contractors or attendants.