Tough to locate genuine parking lots in Capital

Bhubaneswar: With many individuals holding the contract for parking fee collection, car owners and drivers find it difficult to identify genuine parking slots and ticket collectors as many of the contractors are operating without giving any information to public.

Though the civic body has given clear instruction to contractors to set up boards displaying parking fee for two and four wheelers, majority of the contractors are not following it. This often leads to fracas on streets.

Currently, the city has about 72 authorised parking places with ticket collectors. Confusion arises when there are too many like in the case of a stretch between Vani Vihar and Master Canteen Square which has at least five ticket collectors. Then it is impossible for the public to know who the genuine ticket collector is.

Interestingly, the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation has even tried geo-tagging to help the denizens identify the genuine parking spots in the smart city. However, logging to the website and indentifying the location from the big map has turned out to be an exercise in testing the patience and technical skill of the user rather than finding a place to park the vehicle. Not surprisingly, this hi-tech experiment has failed without yielding the expected result.

Meanwhile, some people out to tap the demand for parking have started controlling some vacant areas and converted them into parking lots. Though this activity is illegal, the corporation has failed to curb this menace. Interestingly, even the top officials of the civic body also got charged by the illegal ticket collectors and still the BMC is not taking concrete steps to check this problem.

“The civic body itself created this issue by giving the contracts to so many individuals. Rather than giving one stretch to multiple individuals, the corporation should have clubbed the parking spots. For instance, the whole stretch from Vani Vihar to Master Canteen can be given to one individual. This will also help the public park their vehicles at different spots without paying parking fee to different contractors,” said Piyush Ranjan Rout, eminent urban planner.

Although, several corporators had raised concerns about this issue, BMC has not come up with stringent measures to curb the problem. In fact, even the tour operators claim that it is hard to identify fake ticket collectors.

“We cannot say whether we are giving the parking fee to a genuine ticket collector or not. There is no helpline number or other facilities to cross-check the identity of the ticket collector. So the BMC has to come up with regular inspection to prevent illegal ticket collectors and measures must be taken to prevent public harassment by these ticket collectors,” said BK Panigrahi, a city-based domestic tour operator.

Although OP tried to contact Mayor Ananta Narayan Jena on this issue, it failed to get a response from him. Meanwhile, top officials of BMC have admitted that the corporation has received many complaints on this issue and the civic body is planning to have regular inspection to sort out the issue.

Jose K Joseph, OP


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