The municipal corporation auctioned a year’s toll-and-management rights of 22 parking lots in Chandigarh on Friday for Rs 5.3 crore.
The Sector-35 C lot and a truck parking in Sector 26 fetched the highest bids of `59 lakh each against a starting bid of Rs 32 lakh each.
The new contract for the controversial lot opposite Elante mall in Industrial Area went for Rs 50 lakh against the reserve price of Rs 30 lakh, though it was less than last time’s Rs 60 lakh.
Contracts to be effective from June 1
However, a calculation based on past years underlines that the bids remain unusually high, which is cited as a reason why overcharging has been rampant in the past for the contractor to make that much of money.
Here’s a case in point. At the lot outside Elante mall, the capacity is 225 cars and 800 two-wheelers; and, on an average, 600 cars and an equal number of two-wheelers use the parking here every day.
The charges for four-wheelers are Rs 10 for 4/5-seaters,Rs 25 for 7 larger vehicles; and Rs 5 per visit for two-wheelers.
If one were to presume that half the cars are 4/5-seater and the other half are 7-seaters, the average income from cars is around Rs 38 lakh; and about Rs 11 lakh from two-wheelers in 12 months. That is barely the amount that is to be paid as contract fee, besides other expenses; leave any possibility of profit aside.
Lalit Joshi, the contractor who is running the lot since July last, claimed he suffered a loss of Rs 10 lakh, “but I did not overcharge”. He did not make the bid this time.
Take another case: The Sukhna Lake parking lot’s capacity is 400 four-wheelers (Rs 5 each), and 200 two-wheelers (Rs 2 each).
Here, similar calculations based on averages of last year show an earning of Rs 9 lakh a year. In the auction, the reserve price this time was Rs 10 lakh, and it went for Rs 27 lakh.
HT highlighted issue
Both the lots have been in controversy for overcharging, as was reported by HT in a series last year, highlighting how the then parking contractors at Sukhna Lake and outside Elante mall were charging double the mandated fee, for which the MC had terminated the contracts.
There were several complaints of overcharging from Sector 35-C too and at other parking lots as well.
Municipal Corporation joint commissioner Varinder Chaudhary, when contacted, simply said it was an open auction and, “If we receive complaints about overcharging from any parking lot, we will take action as per the terms of contract; even cancel it”.