South Delhi malls may lose licences over parking fees

Last week, a warning to this effect was issued to commercial establishments in South Delhi and a team of officials asked to draw up a list of defaulters.

delhi Updated: Aug 19, 2018 07:51 IST
Vibha Sharma
Vibha Sharma
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Delhi malls,Mall parking,South Delhi
Parking fees at malls, hospitals and hotels vary between Rs 40 and Rs 200 depending on the duration. On weekends and public holidays, the charges are higher.(Mint File Photo)

The South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) has threatened not to renew the health and trade licences of malls, hospitals and hotels that continue to charge parking fees in violation of directions repeatedly issued since 2015.

Last week, a warning to this effect was issued to these commercial establishments and a team of officials asked to draw up a list of defaulters. If the warning goes unheeded, action will be taken. “If they continue to charge parking fees, which is illegal, we will be left with no option but to cancel the health and trade licenses of these commercial establishments,” SDMC standing committee chairperson Shikha Rai said.

The directions, first issued in December 2015, were re-issued in December 2016 after the establishments failed to comply with them. In October-November 2017, the parking lots of some malls and hospitals that flouted the directions were sealed. Now, complaints have again begun pouring in that some commercial establishments are back to charging the fees. “Concerned officials took action against violators and sealed the parking areas in some malls and hospitals after directions were re-issued in October-November 2017. Now we are again receiving complaints, therefore the decision not to renew licences of violators has been taken,” said Rai.

Civic agencies issues health licences to eateries or canteens running in hospitals, malls and hotels and general trade licences to shops. Mall authorities and hotel managements tried to justify charging parking fees, saying it helped them recover maintenance costs and meet other expenses, including staff salaries.

Parking fees at malls, hospitals and hotels vary between Rs 40 and Rs 200 depending on the duration. On weekends and public holidays, the charges are higher.

A representative of a south Delhi hotel said on condition of anonymity that fees were charged not for parking per se but for valet and security services. “We have hired several staff to regulate parking areas and provide security at parking lots. Parking charges are used to pay their salaries,” he said.

A manager of a south Delhi mall, also requesting anonymity, said, “Land was allotted to us by the Delhi Development Authority, so we should be governed by its parking policy. The municipal corporation has no role in this.”

Bhupender Gupta, a member of the SDMC standing committee, said the establishments were misusing their properties for commercial gain by charging money for parking. “The fact is the floor area ratio (FAR) in malls and private hospitals was enhanced with a rider that they would provide free basement parking to visitors,” he said.

“Most malls and private hospitals have been violating the terms of their enhanced FAR. They availed additional FAR but are charging parking fees, which is illegal. It does not matter whether the land was provided by the DDA. The building plan is sanctioned by the corporation. Therefore, it is mandatory for them to follow municipal norms,” he said.

Moreover, the establishments require a licence from the municipal agency to run parking facilities, Gupta pointed out.

In 2015, the civic agency had passed a resolution directing malls, hospitals and hotels to provide free parking on their premises.

First Published: Aug 19, 2018 07:50 IST