In one of the glaring examples of recklessness, the south Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) has allowed people to use the unfinished multi-level car park in Hauz Khas. The facility was thrown open to public just before the elections in September 2013, which is being run sans mandatory clearances including NOC from the fire department.
The decision taken by the civic agency is also in clear violation of its own rules as no completion certificate and structural stability certificate have been given yet. One of the floors is still under construction and there are no proper lighting and security arrangements in place. Surprisingly, the parking lot has been inaugurated thrice. During a recent standing committee meeting, a demand was raised for blacklisting the contractor assigned for constructing the Huaz Khas car parking. According to the members of the committee, there are faults in the design of the parking lot and thus vehicles find it difficult to drive the vehicles inside the parking lot. The same contractor is involved in the parking project at five locations in the city including Munirka, Kalkaji, Subhash Nagar and Sarojini Nagar.
However, Feroz Ahmed, chief engineer, SDMC, asked for time to enquire about the issue. Farhad Suri, leader of the Opposition, SDMC, said, “Unfortunately, no development has happened in this matter so far. The same contractor was hired as a consultant as well as contractor for another project. However, by appointing the same man as contractor and consultant, the SDMC has also breached the CVC guidelines.”
Subhash Arya, chairman, standing committee was not available for comment.Prakash Arora, a resident of B Block, Hauz Khas, said that prior to the assembly elections, in 2013, the BJP-ruled SDMC had made the parking lot operational to woo the voters.
“The inauguration was done by former Delhi mayor Arti Mehra. But the work is still pending at the site. The area representative earlier blamed the state government for not allocating funds for the completion of the work. Later, they blamed the contractor for delaying the project,” said Arora. The parking facility, which has been built at a cost of `30 crore, can accommodate more than 320 cars at a time. Presently, the first two floors have been made operational and motorists can park for free. As the facility does not have any security system installed, residents prefer to park their vehicles on roads. “Since the parking lot has not been handed over to SDMC, there are no security arrangements made for the vehicles. There are no guards deployed here and anyone can enter the site. In the existing circumstances, no one feels confident about leaving their cars here,” said Ashwin Gupta, a regular visitor to the area.
“The project at the parking lot began on February 2009. It was an 18 months project, but even after seven years, it’s still incomplete. The municipal corporation is not serious about the completing the work and neither making payments. On the contrary, the contractor has installed a generator in the complex to provide electricity at the two levels of the three-storeyed car park,” said a caretaker posted at the site.
Area councillor Ankita Saini said, “There is some electrical work pending at the site on the third floor. SDMC won’t make the payment unless these jobs are done. However, we opened the parking facility for users only after getting an approval from SDMC engineers. Having said that there is no doubt that the contractor has not done a satisfactory job and despite our repeated reminders, he failed to meet the deadline.” Mukesh Yadav, spokesperson of SDMC, said, “The construction work is complete though the parking facility has yet to receive some clearance certificates which we will get very soon. In the meantime, the corporation has floated the tender and invited private companies to run the complex. As soon as the process is complete, the complex would be made fully functional.”