Mafia steps in to plug parking holes in Delhi | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Mafia steps in to plug parking holes in Delhi

delhi Updated: May 21, 2014 15:51 IST
Ritam Halder
Ritam Halder
Hindustan Times

For 25 lakh-odd cars in the Capital, there are only approximately 32,000 legal four-wheeler parking spots in municipal parking lots. So it might be prudent to keep this in mind when you think about buying that big luxury car you have been eyeing for long.

A study conducted by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) shows that nearly 1,300 vehicles come out on Delhi’s roads each year, requiring parking space equivalent to nearly 310 football fields.

The study says that nearly 10 per cent of the total urban land in Delhi is under parking - that too for cars that remain stationed at one place nearly 90% of the time and help meet only 14% of Delhi’s travel needs.

People have been killed over parking space and fights are quite common in most corners of the city over a space that actually belongs to the public.

Together with lack of parking innovations, unimaginative use of the existing parking space and absence of an effective parking pricing regime, the ever growing vehicle pressure on Delhi roads has caused acute congestion. Vehicles have started gobbling up pedestrian spaces such as footpaths and service lanes.

The parking mafia has taken over the vacuum in the parking policy and planning in Delhi. According to sources in the municipal bodies, just six-seven people control over 90% of the parking space in the city.

“They act in collusion with the clerical staff and the corporators. In most areas in Delhi, `10 is the official parking fee.

But all parkings charge `20. On weekends, it goes up to `50-100 at some sites. You can imagine the scale of this illegal operation,” sources said.

They said that the nexus is so strong that they ensure that only a handful can submit bids for parking slots in the city.

Visit any busy market in your car and you can spot these illegal parking attendants everywhere. Be it the clogged municipal corporation-approved lot or an illegal space or even a nearby residential area — they manage everything.

A crooked result of the forces of demand and supply, excessive number of vehicles on the city roads has meant more of these impromptu lots.

Though the civic bodies claim to have no illegal lots in their respective jurisdiction, every resident has sometime or the other parked their vehicle in a not-so-legal parking.

“We are curbing unauthorised parking by legalising them. However, space constraint is a major issue,” said North corporation commissioner PK Gupta.

The multi-level parking lots were introduced as answer to Delhi’s parking space troubles. But these stand as the most underutilised parking places in the Capital.

These are swanky, automated facilities with separate parking bays, where individual attendants park your car on a ramp as you watch it rise up in one of the numerous lifts within minutes.

Still people prefer keeping their cars in normal surface lots or even on the side of the road.

“It is much more convenient parking vehicles on the roads. The multi-level lots are technologically advanced but one has to walk quite a bit to reach the destination,” said Vikram Saini, a 35-year-old businessman from Vasant Vihar.

It is not just “convenient” but cheaper to park cars in the legal surface parking lots. Though the parking space is at a premium, people hardly pay premium rates to avail this facility.

All municipal corporations provide parking at a pittance. An average Delhiite pays `1 per
hour for parking her vehicle.

Experts say that since parking is a luxury in India, subsidising it is not only stupid but also criminal.