The multi-storey parking lot constructed to ease parking woes of Sanjauli residents will weigh heavy on the pockets of scores of locals who till now had no option but to park their vehicles on the sides of Circular Road. Even after paying a hefty amount for parking, there is no guarantee the vehicle will be safe as the management has pasted a slip outside the entry and exit gates saying parking will be at the vehicle owner's risk.
A vehicle owner will have to shell out `5,000 as parking fees for one month one while for one day the fee is `359. However, for one or two hours, only ` 22 will be charged and the fee is Rs 224 for up to 12 hours - double that charged at other parking lots operated by the municipal corporation. And, in spite of paying hefty parking fees, the parking lot operator will not be liable for any theft, damage or loss of a vehicle in any manner.
Other parking lots of the Shimla municipal corporation charge ` 170 for small vehicles and ` 200 for heavy vehicles for 24 hour parking. The monthly rates are Rs 2,000 for small and Rs 2,500 for heavy vehicles.
Sanjauli resident Madan Chauhan said people had hoped construction of the parking lot would resolve their problems but the hefty parking fees have added to their woes. "In spite of the parking lot being operational hardly a dozen vehicles are parked inside because everyone cannot afford the fees," he added.
Pawan Khimta, another Sanjauli resident, said: "If the parking lot operator isn't taking responsibility for the safety of vehicles then what's the use of parking there and paying such a hefty fee. After paying ` 5,000 a month, all risk is ours; this is not a fair deal."
Meanwhile, the multi-storey parking lot's manager, ID Sharma, said the fees had been fixed in accordance with the agreement signed with the Shimla municipal corporation. "We are not overcharging and if government or corporation gives some relief to us, we can further decrease the rates," he added. As per the agreement, service provider has to pay ` 95lakh per annum to the Shimla municipal corporation.
Sanjauli is densely populated suburb with an estimated 50,000 inhabitants. Due to lack of parking space locals have been parking their vehicles on the circular road. However, after the new multi-storey parking lot became operational, the police will soon ask residents not to park their vehicles on the roadside but to arrange space in the new parking lot.
Of the total seven floors of the parking lot only four are operational so far. The parking lot was inaugurated on April 10 by chief minister Virbhadra Singh while the foundation stone was laid by former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal in November 2011. The parking lot was constructed on built operate transfer (BOT) basis by S Tantia Sanjauli Parking Constructions Ltd for a concessionary period of 30 years.
First 50: `4,700
Night parking (6pm to 9 pm): `3,800
First 50: `3,400