The Telegraph
Tuesday , February 25 , 2014
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Standing excuse for traffic snarls

- 14 parking slots too few, too ill-managed

Ever wondered why everyone treats a no-parking signboard like it is invisible in Ranchi?

It’s because most vehicle-owners either don’t know where actual parking slots are or they know too well that Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC) has created too few spaces and too many outsourced personnel who charge whatever they feel like. In addition, traffic police often turn a blind eye to violators.

For the record, there are 14 paid parking slots in RMC areas across the city with a flat fee of Rs 10 for all vehicles (see box). Also, according to norms, if the traffic department seizes a vehicle parked illegally, the offending owner is charged Rs 90 for a two-wheeler and Rs 180 for a four-wheeler.

If the owner resists paying the fine or doesn’t turn up for hours, the vehicle is supposed to be towed away to the nearest thana. Then, the owner needs to go to the police station concerned and pay a minimum of Rs 200 to get back his or her vehicle.

Sounds simple, but despite claims by the RMC and traffic police bosses that everything possible was being done to regulate traffic, parking violations in front of marketing complexes, malls, multiplexes, tuition and coaching institute hubs are commonplace.

As rows of illegally parked bikes, autos, cars and SUVs narrow the city roads, it spells less space and more risk for pedestrians and commuters alike.

“It is difficult to walk on this road, with vegetable vendors on one side and illegally parked vehicles on the other,” said Malti Rai, an Upper Bazar resident walking with shopping bags said near the Mahila Thana stretch of Main Road.

Elderly couple Rita and Mahesh Mathur, trying to find a place to stand near Daily Market and failing due to illegal parking, finally stood near a garbage dump.

A pedestrian near Lalpur Chowk, Anjani Thakur squarely blamed traffic police. “We saw at least two traffic constables standing near a no-parking board but they are least bothered about warning owners to remove vehicles from no-parking zones,” he said.

Traffic superintendent of police Rajiv Ranjan Singh denied such allegations. “We regularly check points near no-parking boards and charge fines from violators. It is a part of our routine job,” he claimed.

RMC CEO Manoj Kumar, when contacted, said they had done their job.

“We identified 14 places as legal parking zones. Now, it is the responsibility of traffic police to check if owners are parking illegally,” he said.

He added Ranchi needed more parking space but did not say when, where or how new slots would come up.

An RMC official, who didn’t want to be named, said outsourced persons at parking lots often charged according to their whims. “That needs to be regulated,” he said, but didn’t specify how.