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Eviction at New Market

About 100 hawkers on Bertram Street, in the New Market area, will have to make way for a temporary carpark, as construction begins on the country’s first computerised, underground parking plaza below Lindsay Street.

The parking facilities available on Lindsay Street, in front of the New Market Clock Tower, will be shifted to the eastern flank of Bertram Street, between Chaplin Park and Lindsay Street. The CMC allows only 96 cars and taxis to be parked in front of the Clock Tower. The proposed underground parking plaza will hold 250 cars.

The Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) and the police have decided to launch a joint drive to evict the Bertram Street hawkers this week. Mayor Subrata Mukherjee has already held talks with commissioner of police Sujoy Chakraborty.

Sheet-piling for the basement of the Rs 15-crore multi-layered parking plaza is likely to begin next week. The road surface of Lindsay Street will be turned into a pedestrian plaza after the civil construction underground is over, and the mayor plans to throw open the pedestrian plaza by the Pujas.

However, the sudden renewal of the lease for on-road parking on Lindsay Street has thrown a spanner in beginning construction work of the underground parking plaza. The lease had been renewed for a year in January, without consulting the civic projects and development department, alleged a senior engineer of the department.

“As the lessee is reluctant to leave the area without getting an alternative site in the vicinity of New Market, sheet-piling work for the plaza’s basement has had to be deferred,” he pointed out.

Refuting the allegation, deputy municipal commissioner (parking) Javed Iqbal said the decision to renew the lease was taken after a series of meetings with engineers of the projects and development department.

Parkomats are coming up in the city as joint ventures between the CMC and Simplex Projects on a build-operate-transfer (BOT) basis. According to agreement, Simplex will run the parking plazas for 20 years, before handing it over to the CMC. During this period, Simplex will share five per cent of the gross revenue from the project with the civic body.

In the underground facility, a motorist leaves his car on a computer-driven elevator in the glass cage, which takes the vehicle underground to a vacant slot. A mechanical carrier then picks up the vehicle and places it on the assigned slot.

Simplex is the sole importer of the automatic car-parking lot technology of Aarding, Holland. The technology goes by its brand name, Parkomat. India’s first such computerised, multi-level car parking lot came up on Rawdon Street last year.

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