Blame it on coldness of traffic cops or lack of parking places, the vehicles owners in Shimla are a harried lot, evinces the last year's police records when 40,000 vehicles were challaned, mostly for wrong parking.
In 2013, more than 45,000 vehicles were challenged by the Shimla police under the Motor Vehicle Act, of which nearly 40,000 were penalised for the wrong parking only.
In the last 10 days, however, over 1,200 vehicles were challenged for being parked on the roadsides.
Deputy superintendent of police (traffic) Dinesh Sharma said maximum vehicles were challaned for wrong parking. “Moreover, there is lack of parking spaces in Shimla, which is an international tourist destination. We facilitate locals and tourists, but maintaining traffic discipline is important too. Being a capital city, traffic is a major concern here,” the DSP added.
As most of the roads in the city are restricted for traffic, people used to park vehicles on the roadsides, he said.
There are some parking spaces across the city, but not enough to cater the fast growing number of vehicles. “There are small and big parking lots across the city with capacity to accommodate more than 500 vehicles, but not sufficient for the state capital,” said the officer.
Earlier, there was a provision of 'yellow line parking' on various roads, where people used to park vehicles within the confines of yellow line, allowing traffic to move freely, but the Shimla municipal corporation scrapped it recently.
However, Sharma said the municipal corporation should focus on small roadside parking, which could be cost effective and helpful in solving parking issues.
Vehicles parked on the roadside are also challaned when there is a chaos.
“People use to park their vehicle on congested roads that leads to chaos,” said the DSP, adding if the corporation was able to develop some small parking lots wherever possible, the chaos could be minimise and the people would get adequate parking spaces.
Police had challaned vehicles for other offences as well like rash driving, using mobile phone while driving, overloading and mixing alcohol with driving, but penalty for wrong parking was significant, he said.
There are a few parking lots along the Circular Road having overall capacity to accommodate more than 600 vehicles, while other small parking lots are near sealed and restricted areas; besides, three big parking lots are under construction.
Deputy mayor Tikender Singh Panwar said three parking lots were under construction at Sanjauli, near the lift and Chota Shimla. Sanjauli parking will have capacity of 450 vehicles, while the lift parking can accommodate 750 vehicles, whereas parking at Chota Shimla will have a capacity of 250 vehicles.
“With these parking lots becoming functional, the capacity to accommodate vehicles in the city's parking lots will go up from nearly 1,200 to 2,700,” said Panwar.
He said the corporation had asked the councillors to identify spaces for setting up parking lots in their respective wards.
There are nine restricted and eight sealed roads in the city, where vehicles can be used only by prior permission of the district administration and the home department.