| Workers busy at the site of the parking lot on Boring Canal Road. Picture by Ranjeet Kumar Dey |
The overhaul of the parking lots developed on Boring Canal Road three years ago started three weeks ago, revealing faulty planning on the part of the state.
Stretching over 1.2km on Boring Canal Road, the 12 enclosed parking lots, constructed spending around Rs 4 crore, are being widened draining an additional Rs 1 crore from the road construction department coffers.
The project, awarded to 10 contractors — four lapping up repeat contracts — started about three weeks ago. The work will continue for at least three more weeks.
The parking strip, which bifurcates the eastern and western parts of Boring Canal Road, has been entirely dug up, causing inconvenience to pedestrians and motorists. People who frequent the area feel the “mess” could have been avoided with better planning three years ago.
The 12 parking lots, which had two entry and exit points each, had 3-foot-high boundary walls and a concrete platform.
Residents and shopkeepers have welcomed the move to convert the space into open parking lots but questions are being raised about the department’s decision to dig out the old platform and re-lay it.
“I can’t understand why the department made such a basic mistake of coming up with enclosed parking lots. In the earlier plan, shoppers would not have used the parking lot if they had to walk 200m from the shop they intended to visit. The parking space would have served no purpose. Their decision to do away with the boundaries is understandable but it’s surprising why they (department officers) are re-laying the floor, which was in perfect shape,” said Ganesh Roy, who owns a garment store on the stretch.
Vibhuti Singh, another trader, said the scope of work was extended for the “benefit” of some officers and contractors. “It was clearly done to benefit a few,” said Singh.
The authorities, however, said they were rectifying the earlier “bad planning”.
“We realised that each of the 100-m-long closed parking space served as a den of criminals, who often occupied the space after dusk for drinking and gambling. Though it cost us some money, we had no way but to redo it,” said Chandra Mohan Mishra, the executive engineer of the department, who is supervising the project.
He also defended the department’s decision to re-lay the floors and the pavement saying it was being done to make the surface even.
“Since it will be an open-air parking space now, we need to create slopes all along. Therefore, the pavement blocks are being dug for re-alignment. Rs 20 lakh will be spent on buying concrete blocks to make the parking strip wider,” Mishra added.