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Overhead parking lot in Darj in offing

Statesman News Service | Darjeeling |

Plans are afoot to construct another parking lot in Darjeeling town, and if everything goes as planned, it will be an overhead parking space that will accommodate 150 vehicles right at the present Motor Stand.

Officials on Friday said they are planning to join the Old Supermarket and the Barracks Market and build a roof-like thing that will hold the parking lot above.

Chairman of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA), Binoy Tamang, along with officials of the district administration and the state Transport Commissioner, on Friday, made a field visit for the project.

“This was one of the issues taken up in a meeting on Friday held at the district magistrate’s office where Mr Tamang, along with the state Transport Commissioner, Biswajit Dutta, and the district magistrates of Darjeeling and Kalimpong, along with other officials were present,” sources said.

“On 23 April, we had met the Transport Minister Subendhu Adhikari, along with other officials. We took up many issues regarding problems here, and regarding transport. One of the decisions taken was to connect the two markets and build a parking lot on the roof that will hold 150 vehicles. A Detailed Project Report for this is being prepared,” Mr Tamang said.

“However, the condition of the Old Supermarket, which was built in 1975, is not good, as it has not been renovated after that. So, we plan to renovate it first. The state National Highway department, Transport department, civil administration and the GTA will first undertake a verification process for that,” he added.

Mr Tamang further said that the proposed parking lot was a long-term solution, “but as an immediate solution, we will also renovate the bus stand, where taxis are parked presently.”

“The bus stand that is in a neglected state is also precariously perched, with 20 houses and restaurants lying just below on the way to Lochnagar. It is an accident waiting to happen. The stand will also be renovated as per modern standards,” Mr Tamang said.

Also discussed in the meeting on Friday was tax exemption for vehicles for the period of the 104-day Hill shutdown, which is already being implemented. Officials also discussed a monitoring committee to be formed to take up different issues with the state government like fitness certificate and revision of taxi fares which has not taken place since 2011.

The officials decided to call a meeting of stakeholders to fix the fares, after which a proposal will be sent to the state transport department. It has also been decided that privatenumber vehicles that have been ferrying students will be commercialized.

“An agreement between the West Bengal government and the Sikkim government has already been okayed that will allow Bengal vehicles to take tourists around in Sikkim. The same, however, needs to be expedited in the ground level, which will be done within a week,” Mr Tamang said.