Parking woes: Fake collectors run riot

Textile trader Niyam Mehta owns a shop at Ashok Nagar on the Janpath, for which he pays regular fees to the agency that owns the space. As part of the rent agreement, the space in front of the shop, where he and his employees park their vehicles, also belongs to him.

By Sandeep Mishra
  • Published 19.08.18
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CHOKED: Vechiles parked haphazardly in Bhubaneswar on Saturday. Picture by Ashwinee Pati

Bhubaneswar: Textile trader Niyam Mehta owns a shop at Ashok Nagar on the Janpath, for which he pays regular fees to the agency that owns the space. As part of the rent agreement, the space in front of the shop, where he and his employees park their vehicles, also belongs to him.

"My customers also park their vehicles at the space, but they often complain that some people collect money from them in the civic body's name as parking fee," said Mehta.

Residents and regular commuters are the ones who suffer the most because of the failure of the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation and allied agencies to implement plans made to streamline the service in the city.

In the absence of regulations, people find it difficult to park their vehicles at important locations, while hooliganism of unlicensed parking operators add to their problems. Mehta is not the only one to allege that these unlicensed or fake operators arbitrarily collect money.

"I went to Unit-VIII to fetch money from a bank. I parked my two-wheeler outside and went inside. The next day when I visited again, a man came to me and asked for money as parking fees. When I argued with him, he argued back and said he was collecting the money for the civic body," said Satya Mohanty, a resident of Nayapalli.

The civic body had planned to create packages for parking lots and collect one-time parking fees from users, which was set to came into force from April 1. However, the plan deferred as the civic authorities failed to auction off its designated parking lots in different locations.

The Bhubaneswar Development Authority, who came to the rescue of people and the civic body with a new parking master plan for the city, has also failed to implement it because of delays in getting a consultant to help come up with the plans.

At present, the civic body has 64 on-street and off-street parking lots across the city. Most of the on-street parking lots are on Janpath and Rajpath, which now face problems because of the underground cable laying work. The workers have occupied the parking spaces for the work.

The work has also added to congestion. "Commuting on Janpath has become a nightmare. There is neither any space for parking nor driving. There has to be some alternative options," said Jeet Narula, a resident of Unit-III.

Mayor Ananta Narayan Jena, however, said they had almost completed the auction process for the parking lots and the service would resume by the end of this month.

"The parking master plan will be ready by the time set and check operations of unlicensed collectors. We will conduct raids if we get complaints."