The National Capital Region is growing at a frantic pace — new housing units are coming up, governments are mulling new means of public transport, the number of cars is rising like never before and so is the greed to make money.
But what is limited is space, especially to park vehicles. The result: the parking mafia’s hold is tightening.
In Delhi, it is charging more than the approved rates; in Gurgaon, it is encroaching upon green belts, vacant private plots and government land; in Noida, it is encroaching upon public land and also overcharging vehicle owners. People are paying anywhere between Rs 30 and Rs 100 per hour against official charges of Rs 10 and Rs 20.
Sources say about 110 illegal parking lots exist in Delhi alone. In comparison, there are 208 legal parkings that can accommodate 20,000 vehicles. These parkings are struggling to fulfill the needs of a Capital that is adding nearly 1,000 vehicles every day. Space crunch has made motorists willing to shell out extra to park their vehicles.
They do not even mind parking in encroached upon lots such as Greater Kailash I, East of Kailash, Malviya Nagar, Vasant Vihar, Jama Masjid, Karol Bagh, Chandni Chowk, Rajouri Garden and Nehru Place, among others. The land beneath flyovers such as Defence Colony and Munirka too hasn’t been spared. Case study (pdf)
All three civic agencies say they are coming up with individual parking policies to tackle the situation. “We send our teams to these parking lots many times but they are usually not able to catch these contractors. We are now planning to introduce hand-held devices to ensure contractors do not tamper with parking slips,” said Manish Gupta, commissioner of the south corporation.
More than 200 illegal parking lots are currently operating on green belts, vacant private plots and government land, indicating a strong nexus between the authorities, police and the parking mafia. Regulators Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA), the Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon (MCG) and the District Town Planning (DTP) have remained mute spectators.
Though they claim to have been acting against the mafia, they have hardly been able to evacuate any of the illegal parkings. Moreover, sources said, a few officials have gone out of the way to allot parking lots to select few contractors at cheap rates. “Many contractors are powerful and enjoy the support of the police,” accepted a HUDA official.
Nearly 30 illegal parking lots have mushroomed in the city against 36 legal ones. And considering the space crunch and the fact that 250 new vehicles hit the city roads every day, the parking mafia is having a gala time.
It makes residents pay anything between R10 and R40 per hour against the official rate of R10 for the first 10 hours and R20 for the entire day. While some contractors bribe their way into getting a new lot, many simply extend the area of their lots.
Areas such as Sector 18, Ganga Shopping Complex, Sector 62 institutional area, Nayabans, Atta market, Sunhari market, Sectors 50 and 41 have been encroached upon by the mafia.
Noida Authority’s CEO Sanjeev Saran said, “We will demarcate the parking space, leaving no room for any malpractice. Our new policy will spell an end to the parking mafia.”