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Get set for smoother rides
Parking lot relief for traffic blues

Bhubaneswar, Feb. 24: The city will shortly have more dedicated parking lots to streamline vehicular traffic and curb illegal parking problems.

The Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation is set to float tenders for 17 new parking lots in the city. The civic body has identified the plots and police have given their nod for the setting up of the new parking lots.

An official said most of these spots had been identified in the central parts of the city in areas such as Ashok Nagar, Bapuji Nagar, Saheed Nagar, Kharavela Nagar, Unit- II, Kalpana, Acharya Vihar and Fire Station.

The corporation and city traffic police officials had identified the spots following a survey.

“We have identified these 17 sites and will shortly invite tenders from interested parties. These private parties will manage the parking lots for a particular period and pay us an annual fee. The highest bidder will be chosen,” said Srimant Mishra, licencing officer of the municipal corporation.

At present, the civic body has 13 public parking lots at different places, including Unit-I, Khandagiri foothills, Big Bazaar and Pantaloons. These parking lots charge Rs 2 for a two-wheeler and Rs 10 for a four-wheeler for a minimum period of four hours.

However, there have been allegations that the parking managers often make arbitrary demands from the public. There was complain that the parking lot operator at Khandagiri foothill was collecting Rs 10 from two-wheelers ignoring the corporation’s prescribed rates. Many operators admitted to charging more than the rates fixed by the corporation and sought to justify it saying there was no other way to recover the money they had spent on bagging the contract.

However, Mishra asserted that all parking lot operators were bound to follow the rates fixed by the municipal corporation. “In case operators demand more money, people can lodge complaints with the corporation and we will take action against the errant parking lot operators,” he said.

Illegal parking has become a headache for commuters as well as the traffic police. At any time of the day vehicles are seen parked on roads, pavements, bus bays and practically any available space.

“The corporation has identified these sites for parking. We conducted a survey at these places to check their feasibility and found them perfect. This move will ease the city’s traffic problems,” said a senior traffic police officer.

Sources said this was a major attempt at removing traffic hurdles in busy areas where illegal parking was rampant. “It will be good if the parking lots are operated properly and people park their vehicles there,” said Siddharth Rath, a trader.

Earlier, the civic body had written letters to several hotels in the city asking them to start institutional parking at free spaces near them which, it said, would be auctioned otherwise. Most hotels had responded to the letters.