It may have a sign board claiming its authenticity but are you really sure your vehicle will be waiting for you when you get back? Insecurity has acquired a new meaning for vehicle owners in NCR as case upon case of thefts—ranging from those of vehicle’s equipment to those of the vehicles themselves—come to light with shocking regularity everyday.
As if losing your vehicle wasn’t enough, claiming the lost vehicle as your own at the local police station is a Herculean task in itself. Authorised or not, a subtle though lucrative nexus between the police, corrupt officials of land-owning agencies and enterprising contractors is making a lot of the proverbial hay as the concerned government departments across three cities play pass the buck.
Delhi has almost the same number of legal and illegal parking lots, making differentiating between an authorised and unauthorised parking lot next to impossible. Noida struggles to cope with a vehicle theft industry estimated to be worth at least Rs 100 crore, where unauthorised parking lots are used as safe houses for stolen vehicles. Gurgaon earns several lakhs from just 14 unauthorised parking lots.
“Go to any market in the city, big or small, and you’ll have someone with a bundle of keys in his hand approach you with a ticket and demand money. Ask any of them who owns the parking and they’ll say it’s authorised. All we can do is take their word for it,” said Kamini Sharma, 35, a software executive who stays in Sarojini Nagar.
Even if you manage to find your way to a legal parking, there are more chances of you being charged double the official rate. Even parking slips at authorised parking lots can be fake, making getting a criminal case registered and getting your lost vehicle back impossible.
In neighbouring Noida, police claim that the auto theft trade in the district has a lot to do with vehicles parked at random places. “These lots have often been used to dump stolen cars. We keep flashing the number of stolen vehicles and conducting raids outside but the “stock” remains safe in parking lots,” said a senior police officer.
In September, eight vehicles stolen from sector 62 were traced to a parking lot in sector 71. “Few years ago, near some hospital a journalist was found running an unauthorised parking. He had printed the parking slips too. It ran for few years and was closed when nearby residents objected,” the officer added.
with inputs from Darpan Singh, Kapil Datta and Sanjeev Ahuja