The spat over parking space that made a resident shoot at his neighbour in Panchshila Park recently was not a freak incident. Squabbles over parking are commonplace in the city and there are mishaps waiting to happen. Here is a lowdown on five such flashpoints:
Krishna Satyanand, a resident of Block S, has become a hostage in her own house, which is surrounded by two banks and a hospital. Visitors to these establishments invariably park their vehicles in front of her house.
As a result, Krishna and her family members have been stuck inside their houses for long hours several times. "People park their vehicles and block the gate. At times, we have had to wait for 30 to 45 minutes to take our car outside the house. In case of an emergency, this callousness can prove fatal," she says.
She has started deflating the tyres of vehicles parked wrongly. "Our worst fear came true recently when a fight between two residents of the colony turned violent the other day. But I will not be surprised if someone is bashed up by an angry resident once again," says Krishna.
The condition in the colony, where a resident had shot at his neighbour over parking space last weekend, continues to get worse. One of Krishna's neighbours, who did not wish to be named, informed that her brother-in-law was recently threatened for parking his car near a house in her lane.
"The resident said that he would call the police. If this is the norm, then no one will be able to park his vehicle here without a fight," she said.
For housewife Ruchi Aggarwal, tasks as simple as cooking food have become difficult. The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) has converted the parking area in front of her house into a paid parking lot.
A resident of Block G Green Park, Ruchi's house is situated in the middle of Green Park market. The parking contractor constantly bothers her over parking of vehicles. "Whenever I am in the kitchen, the contractor rings the doorbell asking me to shift my car to accommodate the vehicles of visitors. What's more, even my personal visitors are also asked to pay the parking fees," says Ruchi.
Signboards reading 'no parking' and 'tyres will be deflated' that have been posted on the boundary wall of her house have obviously not made any difference.
The parking contractor, she says, is on the lookout to park visitors' vehicles in front of her house in order to charge parking fees. "We have daily fights over the issue and the situation could have turned violent long back had I not kept my cool. But what is the guarantee that others in the colony will not hit out someday," she says.
Another Block G resident, who did not wish to be named, said that she is forced to park her vehicle in some other block during the day as visitors park their vehicles in front of her house.
Living near a popular market has its disadvantages, as the residents of Lajpat Nagar-II are finding out. In order to avoid paying the parking fees, visitors to Central Market, Lajpat Nagar, park their vehicles in the residential area adjoining the marketplace.
The residents here have tried all possible ways to discourage people from parking in front of their hoses, from deflating tyres to putting up signboards warning that it is a tow-away zone.
When all else has failed, the residents have now come out with innovative methods. Kapil Singari, a resident of Block I, for instance, has started putting flowerpots in the empty space in front of his house. "I have no other option. People used to park their vehicles here and we had to look for space elsewhere. We keep the flowerpots during the day and remove them during the evening when we park our car," he said.
Outer Ring Road
What do you do if the footpath along the service lane outside your house is converted into an official parking lot? Stay indoors, walk on the road in the midst of moving cars, or even better— sell off your house and shift out of the colony.
This is exactly what those residing in the bungalows situated along Outer Ring Road, near Haldirams and Jagdish Stores are doing. The residents are livid with the MCD for allotting the entire stretch of footpath in front of about 25 bungalows for parking. The traffic police had strongly recommended that this parking lot should be scrapped.
The tension is quite evident here, though nobody wants to be quoted. "Initially, we were being asked to pay for parking our own vehicles. We used to have daily fights with the contractor. Now, a good portion of our time is spent in arguing with visitors, who park their vehicles all over the place," said a resident, on the condition of anonymity.
Old Rajendra Nagar
One of the oldest refugee colonies in Delhi, Old Rajendra Nagar is perhaps sitting on a parking tinder keg. Flouting all bylaws, builders have constructed up to four floors on the small plots here. The parking infrastructure is just about enough to accommodate at best three cars per plot.
However, with four-five families living in one multi-storied building, finding a parking space is a daily ordeal for the residents. By the evening, the residential area resembles a crowded marketplace. Vehicles are parked in two lanes and there is hardly any space left for cars to pass through.
"Still all the residents are not able to park their cars peacefully. There are regular spats between neighbours that can assume serious proportions any day," said R.L. Dua, president of Old Rajendra Nagar RWA.