Delhiites love to claim their own space. The fact only gets more brutal in the realms of the city's residential colonies where car owners quarrel, squabble and, sometimes, even trade blows over differences related to car parking.
Close to 17 complaints related to parking disputes originate in each of the city’s 11 police districts every month.
With almost 1,000 new vehicles, mostly cars, joining the struggle for space every day and parking opportunities sharply on the decline, the concern has now transformed into a policing problem.
"As the parking space has shrunk over the years, the disputes have grown. We intervene when arguments turn violent," says Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Satyendra Garg. “The only solution is stricter registration policies, and ensuring a car buyer has the parking space for his vehicle.”
There have been 12 parking related murders in the last five years.
Harvinder Singh, general secretary of Lajpat Nagar-III Resident Welfare Association (RWA), is called upon to solve a parking dispute in his colony every week.
"Fighting over parking has become a part of life. With Central Market right around the corner, most of the traffic goes through the arterial roads in our area. These people end up parking their vehicles at our spots. This leads to chaos and confusion," he says.
Gulshan Rai, the general secretary of the C2 Block RWA, says, “Each family owns at least two cars. They don’t have space inside their houses.”
The city has more than 60 lakh vehicles plying on road at the moment.
Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) commissioner KS Mehra says, "A policy needs to be formulated to discourage purchase of cars when space is not available inside the house.”
“There is no clear policy on residential area parking. We need to promote self-financing schemes for construction of multi-level parking above or under the ground.”
The Remunerative Projects Cell of the MCD — responsible for parking enforcements in the city — has, in the last two months, filed as many as 70 complaints of illegal parking with the police.
There’s been no probe in almost all the cases.