South Delhi Municipal Commissioner Manish Gupta admits that government should not subsidise parking rates and market-wise pricing is the need of the hour so that high parking prices are kept in areas where the congestion caused by high number of vehicles is causing havoc. Excerpts from an interview.
Parking mafia is most active in south Delhi. What is your take?
The present rates are extremely low. We had held a meeting with many parking contractors around six months back. They were asked to register with us but their main concern is the parking tariffs are not economically viable. Under these, you can’t make ends meet as a parking contractor. Revision and rationalisation is the need of the hour. Existing contractors are the only people who bid. This is a systemic problem.
So what is the corporation doing about overcharging?
We have prepared a new parking policy in January. There will be differential rates according to congestion. This will make sure demand comes down; congestion becomes less and lot management economically viable. Then new contractors will be willing to come in. Cartel can be broken by bringing new people.
What are you doing about multilevel lots?
We want to promote multilevel parking lots. However, the main problem is that citizens want to alight right in front of destination. We want to give financial incentives to such lots. Multilevel parkings should have lesser rates compared to surface lots. That, too, in separate categories of congested and less-congested. Another suggestion is having no parking areas. If someone parks here, high rates, say over Rs 500, should be charged from them, which will come to the civic body.
So what is the status of this new policy?
We have already proposed this policy. Now once the Remunerative Projects Cell committee approves, the policy can be implemented. Then parking charges would be increased and the congestion will come down manifold.
What do you think is the way forward?
Marketwise pricing should be done. Different lots depending on their locations should have different rates. Congested areas should have high rates while non-congested ones low. If the demand and supply can be tapped, there will be shift. Cars, globally, are used by high income groups. All over the world, government doesn’t provide subsidised parking to cars. We take a one-time Rs 40,000 and it’s done. Rather than making rules, let the market economy handle it.