The parking mafia is slowly taking over public land in the city in the garb of parking lots. While some contractors are running illegal parking lots by bribing authority officials, many authorised ones have encroached upon roads and other public land.
Besides, contractors are also overcharging vehicle owners. Thousands of commuters are being cheated at Noida authority’s pay-and-park lots daily in city’s busy commercial hubs -- Sector 18, Atta market, Sector 27, Ganga Shopping Complex, Sector 62 market and Sector 63 among others. People are forced to pay Rs. 20 for a car and Rs. 10 for a motorbike against official charges of Rs. 10 and Rs. 5.
According to sources, about 30 illegal parking lots exist in Noida. In comparison, there are 42 authorised lots in the city, which are not enough to fulfil the needs of the city. Space crunch has made motorists willing to shell out extra to park their vehicles.
The 42 authorised parking lots are in sectors 18, 41, 50, 80, 39, 29, 28, 32, 61, 124, 125, 126, 127, 132, 135, 63, 64, 65, 110, 15, 58, 54, 62, civil court, Phase-II, and Film City. Many sectors have two or more parking lots.
On Saturday, an HT team visited several markets in sectors 18, 63, 28, 62 and Ganga Shopping Complex (Sector 29) to take stock of the ground reality. It found parking slips tampered with black ink, forcing motorists to pay up double the charges. Also, the attendants at these lots were charging on hourly basis, while the authority says there is no such provision in Noida. Besides, there were no boards displaying the official charges at these lots.
A parking attendant at Sector 63 charged an HT reporter Rs. 20 for car. When asked why they are overcharging the commuters, the attendant said, “We have to pay a bribe to the Noida authority officials to take the contract. To recover our investment we charge more than the authorised fee.”
The situation at Sector 18, the commercial hub, is the worst, with 12 illegal parking lots thriving there. “On weekends, shopping is a nightmare due to the parking problem and traffic congestion in Sector 18,” said Kavita Vij, a resident of Sector 37.
The authority officials say the problems will be sorted out soon. “We will ensure better regulated parking lots in all city markets with a new policy, which is to be approved soon. All the illegal parking lots will be removed,” said Manoj Kumar Rai, officer on special duty (OSD), Noida authority.