The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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X-mas ’03, park under ground

Next Christmas Eve, you shouldn’t have a parking problem when you stop to pick up a plum cake from New Market. An underground parking lot for 250 cars, plus a pedestrian plaza, promises to be in place by then.

The Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) and Simplex Projects Limited have entered into a Rs 20-crore build-own-operate-transfer (BOOT) agreement for 20 years to give Calcutta its first hi-tech underground parking-plus-food bay below Lindsay Street. The MoU was signed on Monday by B.K. Mundra of Simplex Projects and Debasis Som of the CMC.

There will be an ‘upper basement’, to be utilised for commercial purposes, with the lower level being reserved for parking.

Once the underground parking lot is commissioned, the CMC will prohibit parking within a 100-metre radius. And no vehicles will be allowed to pass through the Lindsay Street stretch that will be converted into Subrata Mukherjee’s pet project — a pedestrian plaza.

The mayor has long had grand plans of beautifying the New Market-Globe cinema belt with a tree-lined, car-free zone, boasting fountains, telephone kiosks and entertainment centres. “The underground plaza will be a boon for New Market shoppers, as the present Lindsay Street parking lot can accommodate only 96 cars and taxis,” said Mukherjee.

In the revised proposal for the parking lot, there will be glass cages, slightly bigger than a car, at street level, at the junctions of Bertram Street, Free School Street and near Globe cinema.

At the proposed facility, one will have to leave the car on a computer-operated elevator in the glass cage that will take the vehicle to the lower basement. The car will then be picked up by a mechanical carrier and guided to a vacant slot in the parking lot.

Unlike the Rawdon Street Parkomat, under Lindsay Street, the entire project cost will be borne by Simplex, said the mayor. According to the agreement, during the first lease period of 20 years, the CMC will pocket five per cent of the parking fees and 10 per cent of the sales proceeds from the underground commercial slots.

“We will take up the construction work from next month,” said a spokesperson from Simplex, the sole importer of the Parkomat technology from Aarding, Holland.

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