Despite the fact that the parking lots of Chandigarh are in a mess, parking rates in the city have been hiked. While a car owner will now have to shell out Rs 14 as parking fee, two-wheeler owners will have to shell out Rs 7. The hike comes at a time when parking contractors too have defaulted and are not paying the corporation’s license fee.
The rates have been hiked around 20 per cent, as cars were previously being charged Rs 12 and two-wheelers Rs 6. The Chandigarh Municipal Corporation’s Additional Commissioner Rupesh Kumar while speaking to The Indian Express said,
“It is the annual increase. The rates have been hiked from February 1 as per terms and conditions of the agreement.”
When it was mentioned that parking contractors have defaulted and are not paying the corporation’s license fee, Rupesh Kumar said, “Yes I agree they are defaulters but the procedure to initiate action in that case is going as per law. That is a separate matter and this is separate. According to the agreement, annually there has to be a hike. And if you see it is not even complete 20 per cent just less than it. Only Rs 2 for a car have been increased and for a two-wheeler only Rs 1.”
Kumar said that if the services of parking contractors are immediately withdrawn, the situation will become chaotic in the city. “We can’t allow a mess to take place. There will be a complete mismanagement in the parking lots if their services are withdrawn all of a sudden,” the officer said.
The rates have been hiked despite the fact that the parking lots of the city are not organised and people are already facing mismanagement and haphazard parking. It also comes just a month after the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation elections. In sectors 17, 22, 35, people make several rounds inside the parking lot, as there is no one to assist where to park. Haphazard parking is generally witnessed in majority of the parking lots.
The situation becomes all the more difficult for people waiting to enter the parking lots as they keep looking for a change of Rs 4 or Rs 2. Queues are witnessed at the entrance of parking lots, with some paying Rs 20 as they are not carrying change.
Parking contractors already served notice
The Chandigarh Municipal Corporation has already served a show cause notice to both contractors, Pashchataya Entertainment Pvt Ltd and Ram Sundar Prasad Singh, to pay the due license fee. But the same hasn’t been paid for almost three months from the date of notice. The Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, Anindita Mitra asked the officials to examine if they can forfeit their security deposits. As they didn’t pay the license fee in time, Mitra directed to hold a personal hearing. Sources said that only one turned up for hearing and assured he shall deposit the non-disputed amount within seven days.
Mitra had served a notice to both the parking contractors on November 15 last year giving them a week’s time but the payment was not received. The contractors were slapped a notice to both the parking firms directing them to deposit Rs 4.55 crore failing which their contract of the parking shall be terminated.
In the notice served, it was stated that Pashchataya Entertainment will have to deposit Rs 2,88,61,617 and Ram Sundar Prasad Singh will have to deposit Rs 1,67,29,691 within a week, failing which the contract will be cancelled/terminated and that they will be blacklisted and that the security amount of Rs 1,50,30,903 each will be forfeited. It was also said that in case of late payment of the license fee, the licensee shall be liable to pay interest at 12 per cent per annum from the first day of the month, on which the payment falls due and up to the date of actual payment but no later than last working day of that month. And in case the payment is not made upto the last working day of month the license might be cancelled.
Why the notice?
In November, the General House had rejected the relief of Rs 2 crore that was to be given to both the parking contractors. They were seeking remission in license fee due to lockdown during the second wave of Covid and free parking that was given to the employees of the civic body. After discussions, the committee recommended remission amounting to Rs 1,02,50,914 for Zone-l (Ram Sundar Prasad Singh) and Rs 98,64,025 for Zone-II (Pashchatya Entertainment Pvt. Ltd.), respectively. As per reports of the committee, remission of 1.83 per cent and 4.80 per cent for Zones-l II respectively on monthly license fee was to be discussed to be given from October, 2021 onwards.
However, the House resolved that the agenda be rejected and no remission be given.