The urban unit of the District Congress Committee (DCC) has finally mustered the courage to speak out against the parking charges being collected from pilgrims parking their vehicles at the multi-storey Saragarhi car parking, 300 metres from the Golden Temple.
In a statement issued here on Wednesday, DCC chief Jugal Kishore Sharma demanded that parking of vehicles at the Saragarhi parking should be free of cost, as a majority of those who parked their vehicles there were pilgrims coming to pay obeisance at the Golden Temple. Moreover, it was primarily built for pilgrims coming to the city on their personal or hired vehicles, he said.
Sharma pointed out that for the convenience of the pilgrims, an elevated road at a cost of Rs 240 crore was built with funds from the central government during the tenure of Capt Amarinder Singh.
Thereafter, a sum of Rs 24 crore was made available by the Centre for constructing the Saragarhi car parking, he claimed.
He lamented that after the completion of this parking, the SAD-BJP government got the municipal corporation to float tenders for managing the Saragarhi parking. Thereafter, charges began to be levied and in the absence of any strict checks, the contractors had often over-charged tourists and pilgrims, he said.
The Congress leader said the state government or the MC had no right to collect the parking fee when the entire project was constructed with central funds. The state did not spend even a penny, he added.
"What impression would a tourist or a pilgrim carry back home after visiting Guru Ram Dass's 'nagri' and the Golden Temple? You can create any number of parking areas in the city and levy parking rates but at least let the parking at Saragarhi remain free of cost," he said while appealing to the state government and the MC to consider his suggestion.