Patna, July 27: The shortage of parking space in the state capital works just fine for the traffic police.
The department’s cash registers have been ringing with fines collected from vehicle owners who leave their cars and two-wheelers in no-parking zones for want of space.
The traffic police department has collected Rs 65 lakh as fine from motorists in the past six months. Last month alone, the collection was Rs 15 lakh. Most of it came from people parking vehicles on roadsides.
Superintendent of police (traffic) Ajit Kumar Sinha admitted that there was a serious lack of parking space in the city. But he was quick to point out that the job of constructing parking lots rested with the public works department.
“Only recently, the department has come up with a parking lot at the Patna railway station. We have been repeatedly asking them to create more parking spaces. But they are also helpless owing to a space crunch. As a result, motorists park their vehicles in wrong areas,” Sinha said.
The officer also blamed the motorists for haphazard parking of vehicles on city streets.
“There are several instances of motorists leaving their vehicles on roadsides even if there is a parking lot in the neighbourhood. They prefer to stop near the shops they want to visit. The traffic, as a result, goes haywire,” the officer said.
The motorists pay a heavy price for wrong parking, though. The penalty for illegal parking is Rs 100 if the driver is present. It is Rs 600 if the motorist is absent.
“Once we book a driver for flouting the parking norms, we also check insurance and pollution control certificates. The fine for insurance lapse is Rs 1,000. Once a vehicle is intercepted for wrong parking, its owner ends up paying additional fines,” Sinha said.
The officer said motorists need to be educated on how to use the parking lots. “We have been organising workshops and inviting motorists to attend them. Also, an advertising campaign will be launched. We will use billboards and TV ads for it,” he said.
Motorists differ. They believe just slapping fines on them won’t help. Nor will the campaigns of the traffic police. “Many places in Patna, including Frazer Road and Dakbungalow area, do not have parking lots. Where can one park vehicles in those areas? We have no choice but to leave our vehicles on roadsides. The administration should give us solutions rather than penalising us,” said Umesh Singh, a motorist.
In many cities in India and abroad, multi-storeyed parking lots have brought relief to motorists. Vehicle owners in the capital want the Patna police and the civic administration to do the same here.
In modern and crowded cities like Dubai, these parking lots have made a lot of difference to the traffic flow. A few of them have a capacity to park 3,000 vehicles. Reports suggest that the parking business in India would touch Rs 50 billion in the next five years.
At least 15 modern parking lots for 7,000 cars are coming up in New Delhi alone after the Supreme Court asked the Delhi government to form a committee to solve the parking problem of the city. Around 180 semi-automated parking slots will come up at Gurgaon in Haryana.
Simplex Projects, a Calcutta-based construction company, will execute a parking project worth Rs 1 billion in the Bengal capital.