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Park at your own risk

Park at your own risk
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In a recent order North and South Delhi Municipal Corporation’s made 19 and 17 parking sites free for public respectively. The reason behind this adverse move was the non-payment of monthly fee to the corporation by the contractors who continued to charge the general public.

On some parking sites, a cartel of parking contractors were alleged to be charging much above the sanctioned rates. The contractors, who do not display a map of the parking site and the rate list and whose employees don’t either wear uniforms have been overcharging and occupying most of the portion of roads for parking. Not following norms, the parking contractors cover more than the allocated area for parking but the officers hardly take action against the defaulters.

The erstwhile, Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) had planned to construct 26 multi-level parkings in the city in 2008-09 with a view to complete most of them before the Commonwealth Games in 2010. None of the above projects could be completed before CWG 2010 and even after five years of the event only four have become operational so far and two more are likely to be commissioned by the end of this year. After unbundling of the MCD, out of these 26 multi-level parking sites 19 fall in the jurisdiction of North DMC while seven come in the territorial jurisdiction of South DMC.

The mega project to construct these parking sites was planned to tackle the need for parking space for vehicles in busy market areas. The concept note for these projects made a reference to the vehicular growth in the city at around 8 per cent per annum. The concept note further revealed: ‘The number of total vehicles increased from 31.64 lakhs in 1990-2000 to 74.53 lakh in 2011-12, an increase of 135.59 per cent.’

So far, North DMC have managed to start work only on three projects- Kamla Nagar, Parade Ground and Satbhirwan Road (Karol Bagh) which have a combined capacity of 8,28,663 and 96 cars respectively. The Kamla Nagar and Parade Ground parking sites are being constructed on Public Private Partnership (PPP) model while the Satbhirwan Road parking is being constructed by the corporation itself.

A 110 car capacity parking at Model Town and a 90 car capacity parking behind Sheila Cinema at Paharganj are on trial and contractors are being finalised to operate them. Besides, three more parking sites are coming up at Ashok Vihar, Rani Bagh and Shastri Park in Karol Bagh with car capacities of 400, 450 and 1000 cars respectively. The rest however are still stuck in official entanglements.

The South DMC has almost completed the Hauz Khas multi-level parking but the rest of the six multi-level parking projects are still ‘in progress’. These projects were scheduled to be completed by March 2011 but the civic body is itself unsure if they can be completed by the end of this year. The East Delhi Municipal Corporation at the time of its constitution in 2012, did not have any multi-level parking project under its jurisdiction.  It has now planned four multi-level parking projects. Out of these two- Babarpur and Shahdara Anaj Mandi are parking cum commercial complexes while the other two at New Usmanpur and Shahdara North Head Quarter are residential- commercial and institutional- parking projects. These parking projects too have been confined to the files but there are claims that progress has been made in various stages.

Mohan Bhardwaj, chairman of standing committee in North DMC had earlier said, ‘I don’t hesitate to accept that the nexus of parking mafia and officers in the corporation are responsible for mismanagement of parking sites in our area. We will allot all the sites afresh in a transparent manner. But by the time the matter came for the standing committee’s scrutiny and the commissioner presented a detailed report, the parking mafias had already made a financial dent of Rs 6.87 crore to the corporation.

In the report it has been revealed that several parking contractors had paid only the first installment to get possession of the parking site but discontinued the payment once they were allotted the same. However, common public was continuously fleeced even after the two to three year contract period came to end.   Even, the black listed companies and defaulters were allotted other parking sites on the basis of bids without having checked their antecedents who on the contrary paid not even a single penny other than the mandatory security deposit to get possession of the parking site.

The corporations have also failed to add new surface parking sites due to a process made largely cumbersome due to the nexus of the parking mafia and the bureaucrats in unison.

A project report of North DMC to add over 70 new surface parking sites is still awaiting clearance from the Delhi Traffic Police. Status report of 45 parking sites of East DMC which was also sent to the Delhi Traffic Police for clearance in 2012 is also pending. Satish Upadhyay, chairman of standing committee in South DMC and President of Delhi BJP says, ‘We are working to bring more transparency in the allotment and operation of the parking sites.

The work on pending parking projects has been expedited to complete it at the earliest.’ Congress, out of managing civic bodies since 2007 in Delhi says, ‘They just made announcements but are not serious to deliver the projects.’ Mukesh Goel, leader of opposition in North DMC and chairman of standing committee during Congress tenure further adds, ‘Every leader wants to gain points just by making announcements for the corporation.’

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