At a time when air travel is picking up after a long lull induced by Covid, fliers are having a tough time reaching or leaving the airport because of rampant violation of traffic rules in front of the terminal and the roads leading to it.
The Telegraph visited the airport on Monday and found cars, app cabs and bikes parked randomly and much beyond the stipulated duration in front of the terminal, both on the departure and the arrival level, as well as the approach roads.
Neither parking marshals nor cops could be seen enforcing the rules and streamlining traffic in the airport compound. The situation is made worse by cars parked in as many as three rows parallel to the terminal building.
An official of M/S Rajendra Singh, the agency that runs the parking lot at the airport and collects fines from the drivers or owners of errant vehicles, said there were not enough personnel to deploy as marshals.
He also said the agency’s staff did not dare approach beacon-fitted and other government vehicles.
“We are short on manpower. We deploy almost all our personnel at the entry gate of the airport as well as the entry-exit gates of the basement parking lot. Moreover, we dare not ask beacon-fitted and other government cars to move away (even if they remain parked beyond the stipulated period),” said Subhash Sharma, an official of the parking agency.
App cabs parked on both sides of the kerb outside the terminal on the arrival level on Monday afternoon.
“We will look into the matter and try to ensure that there is no congestion in front of the terminal building as well as the exit lanes of the airport,” said an officer of the Bidhannagar police commissionerate.
The officer said that it was the duty of the airport authorities and the agency hired by them to enforce rules.
App cabs that used to be parked in the basement parking lot and were only allowed in the numbered parking bays in front of the terminal (on the arrival level) that have been allotted to the aggregators, now remain parked in the service lane in front of the exit gate of the parking lot.
This causes congestion on the road from the parking lot to the terminal.
To add to passengers’ woes, boarding an app cab or a personal car is often delayed because of the long line of parked ‘VIP’ and government cars in the lane right beside the kerb.
A Golf Green resident who arrived from Jorhat in Assam on Monday said she had to look for her family car for more than 15 minutes before she could spot it.
“There was a long queue of vehicles parked along the kerb. I had to walk to and fro at least five times before I could spot my car,” she said.
An airport official said the responsibility of collecting parking fees and fines lay with M/S Rajendra Singh Pvt Ltd.
“Only cars that are parked in the parking lot pay the fee. In the case of others, we have no mechanism to collect the fee because the toll gates at the exit have been demolished,” said Sharma, of the agency.
According to the rule, vehicles are allowed to stay on the airport premises for 10 minutes. If any car stays for a longer period, marshals are supposed to collect a fine of Rs 400 from the driver.
For the entire duration this newspaper was at the airport on Monday, no marshal or cop could be seen collecting fines though a number of vehicles remained parked for longer than 10 minutes.