41 parking projects planned but only 1 opened 10 Car Parks Scrapped, 13 Others Likely To Miss Construction Deadlines

May 4, 2013

Risha Chitlangia TNN

New Delhi: It’s a chicken-and egg situation. In the absence of a good public transport system, the city is dependent on private transport. The number of vehicles is steadily increasing as close to 1200 cars are registered in Delhi every day. But the civic infrastructure has not kept pace with this trend. Of the 41 multilevel parking projects conceived by the erstwhile Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) between 2007 and 2010, just one at Paharganj has been made operational and close to 10 scrapped!
In the past 10 years, just three multilevel parkings – Sarojini Nagar, Baba Kharak Singh Marg and the stack parking at Sheila Cinema in Paharganj – providing space for about 2500 cars have come up in the city. According to a survey in 20 cities worldwide, Delhi is the worst place to park a car. With their parking projects stuck, the civic agencies and Delhi government are devising ways to discourage car users. From hiking parking rates to imposing a congestion tax, various options have been explored even as the public transport system, which can actually make a difference, remains quite inadequate and unreliable.
Despite the hike in parking rates, Delhiites say the use of private vehicles will not go down. “It is a lot cheaper and convenient to use your own car. Autos don’t ply by the meter and buses are overcrowded. How do you expect people to use public transport? Before hiking parking charges, the government should put a robust and affordable public transport system in place,’’ said Manish Khanna, a businessman.
Of the 41 parking projects, 13 are under construction. North and South corporations claim that five parking lots will be made operational by mid-June but it would be better to take this with a pinch of salt. The parking lots at Hauz Khas and Parade Ground, which were inaugurated with much fanfare last year, are yet to be made operational. South Corporation officials attribute the delay to other government agencies. “It takes a lot of time to get permission from various government agencies like forest, ASI, DDA, DJB, DUAC etc. The contractors are also to be blamed. We will impose a penalty on the contractors once the work is over,’’ said an official.
“A lot of planned parking projects had to be scrapped as EPCA refused to give permission to construct parking lots underneath parks,” said Manish Gupta, commissioner, South Corporation. “We are looking for new sites where parking lots can be constructed. We have written to DDA but we are yet to hear from them. Another reason for the delay in parking projects, especially the ones under JNNURM, is that the government had asked used to get the work done on parking projects vetted by an independent agency. It took a lot of time to hire an independent agency as the guidelines regarding the appointment of such an agency were changed several times.’’
Multiple agencies are looking into the parking issue. Environmentalists have been vociferously pushing for inconveniencing car users. Based on the recommendations of Delhi high court-appointed special task force (STF) and environment pollution control authority (EPCA), the Delhi government approved a hike in parking charges and NDMC is all set to implement it from June 1. But the three municipal corporations, which are led by the BJP, have decided not to implement the hike with the assembly elections scheduled to be held later this year.
But the corporations are doing precious little to rein in the parking contractors who are fleecing people, especially at markets. There are just 300-odd authorized surface-level parking sites in the city. A majority are being run illegally but the corporation is unable to take action. “The construction of a multilevel parking at Kamla Nagar market has been going on for the past six years. Due to the construction work, shoppers are forced to park on main roads. Now, the traffic police are issuing challans. Where should people park their vehicles,” asks Naresh Sambher, president of the market association.
The political wing of the three corporations is clueless. “We are trying to complete the projects, but post-trifurcation, it has become difficult for us to fund them,’’ said Mahinder Nagpal, leader of the house, North Corporation.
TARDY PACE: The parking at Hauz Khas is yet to become operational

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