Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) will collect car parking fees only through point-of-sale (POS) machines from April, mayoral council member Debasish Kumar said on Tuesday.
There will be no cash transactions once the system for digital payments kicks in across the city, said Kumar, who is in charge of the parking department.
From April, the KMC will also stop using clamps to prosecute cars parked illegally on roads at night. Instead, it will send text messages to the owners, much like what police do. The civic body has asked the transport department for access to VAHAN data to be able to send text messages, said a senior official. VAHAN is an all-India database of vehicles.
“From next (financial) year, all car parking fees will be collected only through POS machines,” Kumar told the civic house during discussions on the KMC budget, which was presented on Friday. He later told reporters that fresh tenders to allot parking bays to agencies to manage parking and collect fees have been floated. Bids have been submitted and the KMC will soon start allocations.
“Once the new agencies are assigned car parking responsibilities, they will have to start collecting fees through POS machines. There cannot be any cash collection. Our target is to start collection through POS machines across Kolkata on April 1. If we fail, we would like to introduce the system across the city by the end of April,” he said.
KMC had in January launched POS machines for the collection of car parking fees on 61 stretches of roads. Kumar’s announcement in the civic house on Tuesday meant that the electronic payment for car parking fees will be implemented across the city. KMC has also launched a mobile phone app called s-Parking, which will provide information about vacant parking slots on any stretch at any given point in time.
Civic officials said a user can pay through debit or credit cards, or make UPI payments through POS machines. If someone is not adept at digital payments, he or she can share the phone number of an acquaintance, friend or family member. The parking attendant will send a text message to the phone number with a link. The person can make the payment clicking the link.
The Telegraph had reported after the launch of digital payments in January that the system had not yet started working in many places.
Mayoral council member Kumar said the KMC would stop putting clamps on tyres of vehicles parked illegally at night. KMC inspectors will click a picture of the car and a text message will be sent to the owner mentioning the offence and the amount to be paid as fine.
An official said raids were often conducted to identify vehicles parked on thoroughfares at night without paying the civic body the fee for night parking. One must pay the KMC a fee for parking a car on a road at night, the official said. The KMC now puts clamps on tyres of vehicles spotted parked illegally on roads at night during sudden raids. An official said such a measure inconvenienced people as they had to run to the KMC’s office to pay the fine and then wait for officials to remove the clamps.
“If we have access to the VAHAN database, we will get the phone number of the car owner. A text message will go to that number,” said the official. Someone who does not pay the fine will not be able to renew the fitness certificate or sell the car.