Parking it, while risking it!

City

Due to lack of proper parking grounds, commuters face a risk of paying fines and getting their vehicles stolen.

By Riddhiman Roy

Attiguppe metro station has no paid parking zones. Commuters are forced to park their cars in narrow service lanes and run the risk of getting robbed. Three such cases of a vehicle robbery were reported at Chandra Layout Police Station in July.

Mysuru road and Deepanjali Nagar metro stations have their own paid parking zones. These parking spots are filled to the brim by 10 a.m. on weekdays due to the office hour rush. Commuters choosing to travel from Attiguppe metro station are forced to park their vehicles in illegal parking zones. Commuters have started parking their vehicles in spots like the service lane behind the metro station, the nearby public playground for kids, and even in-front of a local school.

“There is an urgent need for the government to look into this problem as there are millions of common people like me, frustrated, paying fines and running the risk of leaving my car unattended.” said Mr. Sanyal, a regular commuter through Attiguppe, whose car had a huge scratch down the middle as a consequence of parking in unattended spaces.

Attiguppe’s metro station is situated on top of Chord road. It is not an underground metro station. The land around the metro station is predominantly occupied by private schools and private coaching centers. This prevents the construction of parking facilities. So commuters choose to park on the narrow service lanes on both sides of the metro.  Both sides of the lane are lined with cars and two wheelers. There is barely enough room for an auto to pass through. Two scooters and a bike were reported to have been stolen last month, according to Chandra Layout Police Station records.

According to Mr Veerendra Sheelawantar, the assistant engineer working on phase 2(A) of Namma metro currently, the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) along with Urban Development Department (UDD) handles the task of planning the parking spaces near Namma metro stations. He said, “Due to the presence of RNS Vidyaniketan and numerous other coaching centres around the station’s vicinity, land acquirement for creation of additional parking space is not possible.”

He said that the government had made efforts to provide paid parking spots near Attiguppe metro station’s pillars for a handful of vehicles.The rates for parking in those areas were the usual rates charged in any metro parking zone in Bengaluru. Still the local commuters avoided that area and kept on parking in illegal zones. The shortage of available land to create a separate infrastructure for parking prompted the local government to withdraw any efforts of providing paid parking zones. “Taking care of parking lots is not our duty. Our duty is to fine cars parked outside parking lots.” said Mr Shinde, the local traffic police posted near the station.

India does not have a comprehensive law related to parking. Instead there is a nation-wide general policy. After the section 177 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 was amended in 2019; it empowered the traffic police to levy a fine of Rs 1000 for a single offence of parking in illegal spots, or obstruction of traffic. Due to the lack of paid parking spots, commuters park in illegal zones. On top of that, after the recent incidents of vehicle robbery, every commuter is apprehensive about parking there but they due to lack of alternatives. The other alternative is to drive till Vijayanagar or Deepanjali Nagar and hope to find a parking spot.

“Although the issue is of utter importance to a few, there is very little hope for the local government to take actions to solve the issue.” said the constable at Vijayanagar Traffic Police Station, while filling the challan for the release of a vehicle towed away after being parked in an illegal zone.

“The only solution is if multiple government bodies join hands to acquire land from educational institutions in a civil way.” said Mr Manohar Pattar, the general manager of Verve Architects Planners Engineers PVT LTD.

The Traffic Police reported that 30 to 40 vehicles are fined on a daily basis and 250 to 300 vehicles are not fined.

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