Fleecing has become synonymous with parking contractors when it comes to Ludhiana. Even though the municipal corporation (MC) on Friday swung into action and arrested an employee of a contractor at a Ferozepur Road parking lot, visitors are far from getting relief.
Several lots in the parking sites at Ferozepur Road, Feroze Gandhi market, Sarabha Nagar main market, Malhar Road, I block Sarabha Nagar and Ghumar Mandi were auctioned by the MC on June 5, and Friday was their second operational day.
A day after finding visitors being blatantly overcharged at a parking lot on Malhar Road, when this correspondent visited different parking lots on the Ferozepur Road on Friday, parking staff were seen fleecing and arguing with visitors.
For parking two-wheelers for an hour, visitors were being forced to pay Rs 15 against the approved Rs 5 at the parking lot opposite Silver Arc mall.
Following the directions of the Punjab and Haryana high court, MC had on June 5 fixed
Rs 5 for first hour, Rs 10 for second hour, Rs 15 for third hour and Rs 20 for fourth hour for two-wheelers on the Ferozepur Road parking lots. However, violating the norms, the contractor, Bhola & Company, is unashamedly swindling the visitors.
Four-wheelers’ owners were worse off at these parking lots, as they were being charged Rs 30 for the first hour, three times more than the approved Rs 10.
Gaganeet , a visitor, said, “As soon as I parked my vehicle, a parking lot employee approached me and demanded Rs 15
He did not pay heed even when I told him that I would come back within a few minutes. So I was forced to pay Rs 15 for less than an hour of parking.”
Worse, even MC officials are not being spared by the parking mafia. But, apparently the civic body is hesitant in taking stringent action that could set an example for all contractors.
“I was conducting an inspection on Thursday night, when I found the contractor’s staff overcharging visitors at the parking lot on Malhar Road. I seized their slips’ booklet and the overcharged amount.
Later, when I parked my vehicle near Silver Arc on Ferozepur Road, I was also asked to pay more than the approved fee for the first hour. Therefore, I imposed a fine on the contractor,” said Jasdev Singh Sekhon, Zone-D superintendent of tehbazaari wing.
Later in the day, MC zonal commissioner PS Ghuman also conducted an inspection of parking lots.
Ghuman said, “A person was arrested from a parking lot on Ferozepur Road as he was overcharging. He was sent to the Division Number 5 police station.”
“I also conducted an awareness drive in various parking lots and asked visitors to pay only the fixed parking fee. The contractors were given strict warning that their contracts would be cancelled if they continued overcharging,” Ghuman added.
A female visitor, requesting anonymity, said, “Though MC asks us to pay the fixed fee, it is pointless, as the contractors rule the roost at the parking lots, in absence of any action. We have no option than to pay more as the employees argue and behave rudely.”
During the auction on June 5, MC had directed the contractors that a Rs 1,000-fine will be imposed if they were found overcharging, followed by cancellation of licence if three complaints were received.
SHOPKEEPERS GIVE PAID PARKING THUMBS DOWN
With MC introducing paid parking at Ghumar Mandi market, shopkeepers are a disappointed lot.
They claim that their business has seen a dip in the past two days, as visitors refrained from parking vehicles.
Vicky Jassal, one of the shopkeepers, said, “The civic body should not charge customers, who visit the market only for a few minutes. This paid-parking concept is going to cause huge losses to shopkeepers.”