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Unsafe in an authorised parking

On an average, nearly 1,000 vehicles are added to Delhi roads every day, leading to a severe shortage of parking space, which in turn helps parking mafias flourish in the city. The presence of some greedy parking mafias is also making parking lots unsafe. Karn Pratap Singh reports. Get your insurance money

delhi Updated: Aug 08, 2012 03:01 IST
Karn Pratap Singh
This-year-seven-cases-of-vehicle-thefts-have-been-reported-from-northwest-Delhi-s-Rithala-police-station-which-covers-four-Metro-stations-including-the-Rohini-West-station-in-picture--Jasjeet-Plaha-HT-photo
This-year-seven-cases-of-vehicle-thefts-have-been-reported-from-northwest-Delhi-s-Rithala-police-station-which-covers-four-Metro-stations-including-the-Rohini-West-station-in-picture--Jasjeet-Plaha-HT-photo

A board that says ‘authorised parking’, attendants in uniforms and a parking slip for your car — for most of us, it is an assuring sight, making us park our vehicles there, as they are ‘safe’.

The truth is, however, is that your car is not safe anywhere in the Delhi-NCR region.

Aditya Jain, a 22-year-old management student from Jaipur, learnt this the hard way. A few months ago, his brand new Marurti Swift Dzire was stolen from an ‘authorised parking lot’ at a Metro station in the capital.http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2012/8/08_08_12-metro4.jpg

“I had to apply for my visa and had gone to Nehru Place for that. I was told that the safest place to park my car would be the Nehru Place Metro station parking lot. I parked my car there and went to the visa office,” he said. “When I came back, the attendant told me that someone else had driven my car away,” he said.

It’s been three months and there’s no trace of Jain’s car.

Parking lots at Delhi Metro stations, it seems, have emerged as the latest hotspots for car thefts. This year, seven cases of vehicle thefts have been reported from the Rithala Metro police station alone that covers four Metro parking lots.

Another Metro police station, west Delhi’s Rajouri Garden — which covers the same number of parking lots — has been reporting at least one case of vehicle theft every month.

The same holds true for normal surface parkings too which are as unsafe as those of the Metro stations. Thefts of car parts and accessories such as tyres and music systems and costly items such as laptops from parked cars are also rising.

The fact that such incidents are taking place in authorised parking spaces points to the possibility of a nexus between police, corrupt officials of the land-owning agencies and the enterprising contractors.

On an average, nearly 1,000 vehicles are added to Delhi roads every day, leading to a severe shortage of parking space, which in turn helps parking mafias flourish in the city. The presence of such greedy parking mafias is also making parking lots unsafe.

In Noida, car thieves work in nexus with parking lot attendants, claim police sources. Car thefts are quite common at parking lots in Sector 18, 29, 36, 30 32,15,29 and 62.

Gurgaon residents are also completely at the mercy of the parking mafia. In fact, some contractors clearly mention on the parking slip that they will not be held responsible for the safety of the car.

(With inputs from Sunil Thapliyal and Shashank Shekhar)

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Case studies

Harassment still fresh in mind

Bhumanjay Singh
Car stolen from Dwarka Mor parking
Bhumanjay Singh always believed that Metro station parking lots were the safest. Till he lost his Maruti SX-4 car from the Dwarka Mor Metro station parking. The 29-year-old in-flight executive of Jet Airways, however, was fortunate enough to get his car back nearly a year later.

But the harassment he faced from police and Metro officers is fresh in his mind. “Despite the receipt, police personnel at Metro police station were reluctant to lodge an FIR,” said Singh, a resident of Dwarka Sector 4.

Claiming insurance was a Herculean task. As Singh’s case was registered under IPC Section 406 (criminal breach of trust), the insurance company refused to compensate him.

Requests to DMRC for compensation from the parking contractor only led to assurances. “I had lost hope when a Gurgaon police officer told me that my car had been recovered,” he said. karn pratap singh


Attendant was blasé about loss

Namit Vashistha
Car stolen from Noida Sec-18 parking
Namit Vashistha too is a victim of thieves who operate in parking lots. The south Delhi resident lost his Santro car from Noida’s Sector 18 parking on July 27, 2011 when he had gone to the Centerstage mall to watch a film. He came back to find his car missing from the parking.

“I even had the parking slip with me. When I asked the parking lot attendant about my car, he did not seem much concerned. Nobody took the pain of trying to locate my car. When I insisted that ensuring my car’s security was their responsibility, the parking attendant merely asked me to file a complaint with the police,” said an outraged Vashistha.

He finally got an FIR registered at Noida’s Sector 20 police station. The police even detained the parking lot attendant but released him later. htc


Faced apathy everywhere

Jagbeer
Bike stolen from Pitampura station
Aclerk in the New Delhi Municipal Council, the black pulsar motorbike was Jagbeer’s first big purchase. So when it was stolen from an ‘authorised’ parking lot at the Pitampura Metro station despite him having taken all precautions, Jagbeer’s heart broke.

“I even have the parking receipt,” said Jagbeer. When he questioned the parking attendants, “they pleaded ignorance and could not give any satisfactory answer”. “I then made a call to the police control room,” he added.

But he faced apathy wherever he went. “The station manager refused to file my complaint and asked me to lodge it at the Rithala Metro police station. The attitude of police officers at the police station was no different. They registered the FIR three days later and that too after I requested senior officers to intervene,” Jagbeer said.

For more than a month, this resident of Mangolpuri has been doing the rounds of police stations and insurance office to either get his bike back or its insurance amount.

The insurance company has refused to give him the insurance amount as his case has been registered under IPC Section 406 (criminal breach of trust) and not Section 379 (theft).

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