Though the SAD-BJP government has implemented the Right To Service Act (RTS) to ensure timely delivery of services to the common man, it has failed to enact any law to protect people from private contractors who charge hefty parking fee at the district headquarters.
People visiting the Sangrur deputy commissioner's office on two-wheelers are being forced to pay parking fee equal to four-wheelers. Talking to Hindustan Times, a parking lot employee, without revealing his name, said, "We have been asked by our contractor to charge Rs 10 for two-wheelers and four-wheelers, as number of two-wheelers was much higher than four-wheelers."
When questioned, an official in the district administration said, "They (contractors) might have increased parking fee for two-wheelers as their contract will be over on March 31 and they want to earn a good profit before the new contractor takes over."
During the investigation, it was found that the parking lots have emerged as a good source of income for the district administration as well as private contractors as the fee of the contract increases every year.
Last year, the contract was allotted to one Pawan Kumar in Rs 1.65 lakh with an increase of Rs 52,000. However, during the allotment of the contract the administration fixed the parking price of Rs 10 for a car and Rs 5 for a two-wheeler. A parking guard informed that about 800 two-wheelers and 400 cars are parked daily in the district administration, which fetches the contractors Rs 12,000 per day.
It is pertinent to mention here that parking fee was being charged only in the district administration complex, while it is free for all vehicles at civil and mini-secretariats and Punjab and Haryana high court and Punjab Vidhan Sabha in Chandigarh. A senior officer in the state government said parking fee was imposed to ensure hassle-free movement of vehicles at the district administration office.
As per the rules, the contractor cannot charge more than fixed parking fee, but as two-wheelers number more than four-wheelers the contractor decided to charge Rs 10 from owners of both types of vehicles.
When contacted, Sangrur deputy commissioner Indu Malhotra said she was not aware about the parking fee hike.
"I am not aware about this. As you have brought it to my notice, I will take up this issue with the officers concerned," she added.