Quick-buck tactics - Malls hike parking charges amidst drive against illegal parking
Shopping malls and multi-storied commercial buildings in busy market areas of Prayagraj have begun charging for their parking lots, while others, who used to ticket their lots, have substantially hiked charges.
The effort of these establishments is to cash in on the offensive of the traffic police against illegally parked vehicles.
The busy Reliance Mall situated in Civil Lines area of the city, which earlier had a free parking facility, has suddenly made parking a paid facility. The rates of parking have been painted in bold letters on the walls of the mall: Rs 15 for two-wheelers and Rs 30 for four-wheelers.
Similarly, the basement parking facility in Vinayak City Center, which has dozens of shops besides PVR Cinema, has paid parking, which is making commuters to park their two-wheelers as-well-as four-wheelers on the roadside.
According to Akram Khan, a shop owner in the Civil Lines area, the attempt by the traffic department to check parking of vehicles on roadsides in the Civil Lines area has affected business of all shops. “A customer arriving at a shop is bound to park his or her vehicle somewhere and commercial establishments should be providing free parking space, as it is an integral part of a building map before it is passed. Once the establishment starts charging, customers are forced to park along the roadside, leading to traffic congestion,” he said.
Prayagraj Municipal Corporation (PMC) corporator Kamlesh Singh also criticised the owners of commercial establishments for charging parking lots making it a paid facility. “If owners of shops in shopping malls pay rent to owner of the mall building or have purchased the shop from builder, the parking facility is already part of the deal and cannot be charged for separately,” he said.
Prayagraj superintendent of police (traffic) Kuldeep Singh said that the issue has come to his knowledge and will be discussed with senior officials for addressing the woes of vehicle owners.
Prayagraj Development Authority (PDA) zonal officer Alok Pandey said that the issue will have to be looked into and a suitable solution will be chalked out.
The traffic department has launched a drive against illegally parked vehicles in the last six months.
Records revealed that in the past eight months – from January 1, 2019 to August 30, 2019 – before the penalty amount of different offences under Motor Vehicle Act were revised and made effective from September 1, 2019, the traffic department had issued traffic challans to 47,333 commuters for parking their vehicles in a no-parking zone.