Though the municipal corporation (MC) sought support of the residents to make Ludhiana a smart city, but it has failed to provide them relief from overcharging at the parking lots where the contractors are forcibly charge more than the prescribed parking fee.
Showing thumbs down to the notices served by the MC, the fleecing of residents and visitors is still a common scene at the parking lots on the Ferozepur Road. The contractor has failed to start e-ticketing at all the parking lots except a few.
A recent incident of fleecing came to light when a retired professor, RS Brar, went to Gulmor Hotel along with his family to attend an exhibition. Brar, who is also the president of the Progressive Democratic Common Cause Forum, said, “An employee at the MC’s parking lot outside the Gulmor Hotel charged Rs 30 from me for parking my car for an hour. I asked him the reason for overcharging but he claimed that he was charging what his contractor had directed him. They were overcharging from all.”
“The parking employee told me that the parking fee was Rs 30 whether the car was parked for an hour or two. However, the prescribed parking fee for a car is Rs 10 per hour. It is very shocking that the MC is not taking any action,”Brar said.
“How would the city become ‘smart’ if the MC is unable to stop such wrongdoings at its parking lots? The residents are not supposed to be overcharged but their complaints are being ignored,”said Kuldeep Singh Khaira, an RTI activist.
“I registered a complaint about fleecing at a parking lot on the Ferozepur road last month but the authorities failed to act. Nobody is paying any attention towards the problems being faced by the common people,”Khaira said.
Sources revealed that complaints of fleecing were being regularly registered for the last few years but the MC never took strict action against any of the contractors who are believed to be close to some MC officials and political leaders.
HT has been highlighting the issue for a long time but officials never move ahead of cursory assurances. Recently, MC additional commissioner Rishipal Singh had assured that strict action will be taken against the guilty contractor but nothing has been done so far.
The parking contractor at Feroze Gandhi market has encroached areas of the road from where parking fee is being charged. HT had highlighted this issue but the MC officials failed to take any action despite the fact that the MC commissioner had given directions for issuing a notice.
“I have received complaints about fleecing at the Feroze Gandhi market. The report has been sent to the higher officials who will take required action. We have displayed parking fee boards and the visitors should pay as per the prescribed rates only,”said Gurdev Singh, superintendent at MC’s zone D.
Despite repeated attempts, additional commissioner Rishipal Singh could not be contacted.