In what points to a nexus between officials of the municipal corporation and the parking contractor, the civic body has turned a blind eye to blatant overcharging at the city’s sole paid parking lot behind the local AC market.
The contractor is charging Rs 30 for a car against the permitted Rs 10 while people are forced to shell Rs 10 for a two-wheeler against the stipulated amount of Rs 5.
What makes the case even worse is that fleecing of residents has been allowed to continue ever since the contract has been awarded in October last year.
The agreement says the contract can be cancelled with an immediate effect in case of repeated overcharging.
The MC did not initiate any action even after the contractor was booked twice in the past for fleecing people and misbehaviour by his staff.
Ironically, numerous complaints of overcharging against the contractor have gathered dust in MC files. The police too have failed to take any action.
The contractor does not display the rate list at the entry points of the parking lot. Moreover, the actual rates decided by the MC are also missing on the receipts issued by the contractor’s staff.
The men deployed for collecting the money are often seen arguing with vehicle owners when one complains of overcharging.
Shockingly, the contactor has even encroached upon the public land by increasing parking area illegally.
As per the contract, he was allotted parking lot behind AC market and the area opposite Toba Baba Dhiyana Tubewell. However, the contractor’s staff has illegally occupied the back lane behind the AC market.
Despite paying more money, there is no assurance of safety of vehicles as the parking time is fixed till 8 pm.
“They not only charge more, but the way the contractor’s staff behaves is pathetic. You cannot argue with them as they enjoy the patronage of politicians and civic officials,” said Pardeep Mehta, a commuter.
Some MC officials said the contractor is politically connected and hence no punitive action has been initiated against him so far. Even the field staff abstains from regular supervision in the paid parking lot.
Officials pass the buck
When contacted, Patiala mayor Amarinder Singh Bajaj said it is an issue dealt at the MC commissioner’s office.
MC Commissioner Indu Malhotra said, “I had issued show-cause notices to the contractor before leaving for 45-day training in July. I will check the status of the case tomorrow and brief accordingly. We will not tolerate any nonsense.”