Half of the parking lots in the city are lying vacant for the past eight months, causing a loss of over Rs 3 crore to the Chandigarh municipal corporation. MC sources say the amount could have been used to construct a community centre at Palsora or Kejheri villages.
The MC, which earns around Rs 12 crore from parking lots every year, has failed to auction 12 of the 24 sites in the city since July last year. Reason: Tug-of-war between councillors and MC officials over the revision of parking rates. This has resulted in haphazard parking in vacant lots, causing inconvenience to residents.
The civic body is waiting for the UT administration’s reply over the rejection of revised parking rates’ agenda. Speaking to HT, MC joint commissioner of Varinder Chaudhary said: “We will hold the auction after we get a reply from the UT administration.”
The administration had issued a show-cause notice to the MC in December last year over the revised parking rates and gave it 10 days to implement the same. However, the MC is yet to file its reply.
Former mayor Pardeep Chhabra said: “We opposed the revision of parking rates, but officials should have conducted the auction on old rates. The MC has already suffered a huge loss.”
The agenda proposed increasing of parking rates on an hourly basis, introduction of smart cards, besides increasing the paid parking lots from 26 to 93.
Panel recommendations rejected
In October last year, a five-member committee constituted to work out the modalities for the revision of paid parking fee suggested that parking lots should be made free by giving them to private players so the they can maintain the same. But, the then commissioner, Bhawna Garg, rejected the move saying “we cannot allow advertisements in parking lots as it will spoil the beauty of the city”.
Smart cards in limbo
In September, the MC had planned to introduce smart cards and e-ticketing in all paid parking lots in the city, but nothing has been done to date. It was proposed that the city will have automatic parking lots. The smart cards were to be re-charged through e-sampark centres.
What they say
The MC is ready to suffer losses, but is not willing to construct a community centre in Kejheri, a demand of the area residents for the past one decade. All my pleas have fallen on deaf ears.
Sheela Devi, Kejheri councillor
The MC authorities have failed to regularise the paid parking system in the city. We have never heard MC officials holding a meeting on paid parking. Even councillors never raise the issue in House meetings.
Baljinder Singh Bittu, sectors’ welfare body chief