Visiting Sector 17 for long durations is set to get expensive, as parking charges would soon be charged by the hour.
The finance and contract committee (F&CC) of the Chandigarh municipal corporation (MC) on Tuesday took the polarising decision for the paid parking areas that would be implemented once the selected lots come under a fully automated system in about a month - these are the Empire Store and Sahib Singh parkings that cover all spots within the plaza and those behind Neelam Theatre.
Besides, the committee also introduced paid parking in front of the new, Elante mall in Industrial Area Phase-1, at Rs. 2 per entry for two-wheelers and Rs. 5 for four-wheelers.
At the Sector 17 lots, the committee chaired by mayor Subhash Chawla decided, Rs. 5 per entry will be charged for the first two hours and Rs. 10 per hour subsequently for four-wheelers including taxis; the slabs are Rs. 2 and 4 for two-wheelers. Also, the charge for multiple entries throughout the day will cost Rs. 50 for four-wheelers and Rs. 20 for two-wheelers.
The decision has been taken to tackle the heavy, static rush of vehicles at Sector 17, particularly during the weekends. At times vehicles spill on to the roads, causing traffic jams.
Congress councilor and F& CC member Mukesh Bassi said the implementation would be done once the automatic system is in place: "Hopefully, within a month."
But the move did not find favour.
Subhash Kataria, president of Traders' Association, Sector 17, said, "Despite giving memorandum to the mayor and MC commissioner for not introducing hourly parking fee, they have done it. We will hold protest." Kamaljit Singh Panchhi, senior vice-president, Chandigarh Business Council, agreed with Kataria.
"We will meet the UT administrator and make sure the is rolled back," Panchhi said.
Many traders at Sector 17 said the move would sound the death-knell for the plaza which is already losing out to malls.
However, in a decision that would bring cheer to many, the committee decided to revive the plaza carnival on Saturdays.
Besides, it approved rates of various items at the vacant kiosk for Chinese food at Night Food Street, Sector 14, and also okayed preparation of a management information system (MIS) for water billing.