chanchal singh
[email protected]
New Delhi, 2 July
Though all three municipal corporations have been saying that parking fee will not be revised, contractors are continuing to charge as per their whims.
The Lieutenant-Governor, Mr Tejendra Khanna, had approved a hike in parking rates proposed by a special task force appointed by the Delhi High Court. But all three corporations had committed not to implement it.
In the new parking rates for 2013-14, besides hike in parking charges, 50 per cent additional congestion charges were to be imposed on weekends. But the BJP-ruled corporations, with an eye on the upcoming Assembly elections and fearing public anger, had rejected the hike in parking rates and congestion charges. They said, "We are not implementing these revised parking rates. We have to think of the people who have elected us. We had promised them that we won’t increase parking charges. We can’t put additional burden on them." Kavita Malhotra, Congress councillor from Lajpat Nagar, said, "The parking contractors charge a minimum of Rs 80 to Rs 100 in Central Market area of Lajpat Nagar on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays for parking a car for up to four hours. On the rest of the days they charge around Rs 40 to Rs 60 per car."
  She added, "These parking mafias have made a cartel to impose their self-imposed parking rates and even officers of the corporation don’t have the courage to take action against them."
The same situation is found in Lajpat Nagar,-I and II and Nehru Nagar. Visitors to major markets in other parts of South Delhi like Andrews Ganj and Greater Kailash are also being fleeced by parking contractors. The current officials parking rates for two-wheelers in the parking sites under the three municipal corporations is Rs 10 for cars and Rs 7 for two-wheelers up to 10 hours.
"The contractors charge a minimum of Rs 100 or above in main market areas of Karol Bagh on weekends which is just double what they charge on weekdays," said Rajesh Bhatia, local councillor.  A visit to Karol Bagh main market, Ajmal Khan Road and Gurudwara Road revealed that the parking contractors hand over a parking slip of Rs 10 to the commuters but overcharge them.  "If we refuse to pay the hiked charge they simply refuse to let us park putting up a ‘no parking available’ sign," said Manish, a car owner. They do not allow authorised free parking facility even to councillors.
The new parking policy had proposed a fee of Rs 10 for 30 minutes, Rs 20 for one hour, Rs 50 for three hours and Rs 20 on every additional hour besides 50 per cent congestion charge on weekends.