The Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) has sent to the state government a comparative study of the parking rates in five Indian cities and sought to know what rates should be applicable in Kolkata, mayor Firhad Hakim said on Monday.
Hakim said the study, done by the civic body, showed that the parking rates in Kolkata were the lowest compared with Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai and Delhi.
It was not immediately clear what the rates cited in the study were. The mayor did not elaborate.
The KMC was forced to roll back a hike in parking rates within seven days of an upward revision that came into effect on April 1.
The hiked rates were rolled back on April 7 evening after Trinamul Congress spokesperson and state general secretary Kunal Ghosh told a news conference that chief minister Mamata Banerjee and the party did not approve of the increase.
He said the chief minister was unaware of the rise in parking rates before it was implemented.
The Telegraph reported on May 1 that despite the setback the KMC had not abandoned the idea of raising parking fees and wanted to send to the state government the findings of a comparative study of the parking rates in some major Indian cities.
On Monday, Hakim announced that the comparative study had been sent to Nabanna. “We have already sent a comparative study of parking rates in four other cities: Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi and Chennai,” Hakim told a news conference.
“Other cities have been divided into zones and the rates vary from one zone to another. The rates are higher in commercial hubs and lower in residential areas,” Hakim said.
“We have not proposed any rate. Let the government decide the rate for Kolkata.”
In Kolkata, the official parking rate is Rs 10 an hour. Parking attendants, however, make a killing by charging whatever they want depending on the place and the time of day.
The mayor said the study sent to Nabanna did not say anything about dividing the city into zones and having separate rates for these zones.
The KMC has set a target to raise Rs 100 crore from parking fees in its budget estimate for 2023-24.
Hakim has repeatedly emphasised over the months that the civic body lacked adequate funds and officials said parking was one of the areas where the KMC could raise funds on its own and use them for development work.
At present, the KMC depends largely on the state government to execute projects and day-to-day work.
The KMC does not directly manage parking bays but appoints agencies to run them by floating a tender. The highest bidder gets the chance to manage a parking bay, which often includes a number of roads.
Civic officials said if the parking rates are raised — which means agencies managing parking bays collect higher fees from car owners — the agencies, too, will quote higher prices to win the bids. “This in turn will raise the revenue collection of the KMC,” said the official.
The current parking rates in Kolkata are Rs 10 an hour for cars and Rs 5 an hour for two-wheelers. The rates are applicable from 7am to 10pm.
The rolled-back rates for cars, which were in effect between April 1 and April 7, were Rs 20 an hour for the first two hours, Rs 40 an hour from the third to the fifth hour, and Rs 100 an hour for every hour beyond that.