Imposition of parking fee on the Ferozepur Road following orders of Punjab and Haryana high court last year has not only triggered many protests and complaints against the parking contractor, but also resulted in plunge in cost of commercial properties along the road.
A large number of city’s commercial establishments, including shopping malls, showrooms and shops, are located on the Ferozepur Road that is considered to be one of the busiest roads in the city as most of the commuters headed to other districts take this road.
The property affected is located on the stretch from Jagraon Bridge to Sidhwan Canal bridge. According to property dealers, property prices were impacted soon after parking charges were imposed on the road last year after the directions of the Punjab and Haryana high court. The court had asked the municipal corporation (MC) that vehicles should not be allowed to be parked in the service lanes and paid parking lots should be used instead.
However, while the parking rates at rest of the city lots are Rs 5 for two-wheelers Rs 10 for fourwheelers for the whole day, visitors to Ferozepur Road markets have to shell out four times that just for four hours. Parking beyond the four hours invites a fine of Rs 5,000. Fleecing by parking contractor makes matters worse. While the approved fee to park a two-wheeler for one hour is Rs 5, the parking attendants blatantly charge Rs 10. Several complaints to the MC have fallen on deaf ears.
As a result, visitors reduced frequenting the commercial establishments that lie along these service lanes, leading to significant dip in business, also driving away potential property buyers.
The dip in price is estimated to be anywhere between Rs 50,000 and Rs 60,000 per square yard, bringing the price of properties on the road down to Rs1.8-Rs2.2 lakh per square yard from Rs2.30-Rs2.70 lakh per square yard before paid parking was introduced.
Parminder Singh, a property dealer, said business of commercial establishments on the road had suffered a lot since paid parking was introduced. “Worse, customers were also no longer evincing much interest in buying commercial property on the stretch, apprehending slow business,” Singh said.
Those interested in commercial establishments had opted for Malhar Road as a substitute to Ferozepur Road. But they are hesitant of buying property even there since paid parking was introduced on June 5.
Virender Gupta, a businessman, said he was interested in purchasing property on Ferozepur Road, but due to parking fee there was no scope of good business. “Therefore, I decided to shift to Malhar Road. But parking fee has been imposed there as well since June 5,” he added.
However, there are experts who believe that the trend of declining property rates was a temporary phenomenon.
Deepak Pandey, a realty expert, said the trend of people avoiding going to markets where parking fee was imposed was common and understandable. “But the phenomenon is temporary, as with time, paid parking would be introduced in most city markets and people would again start visiting commercial areas irrespective of paid parking,” Pandey added.
Seeing their business going grim after paid parking was introduced at Ghumar Mandi market on June 5, shopkeepers had resorted to protests, following which the MC had put the process on hold.