Monday, August 31, 2009

PARKING BLOT

PARKING BLOT
While BBMP claims there is no pay-and-park system in the city, a gang is fleecing people in Koramangala saying it has the corporation’s permission to charge parking fees
ATUL CHATURVEDI


Officially, the pay and park system does not exist in the city except on Brigade Road and Commercial Street. But unofficially, a parking mafia is thriving right under the nose of the BBMP in Koramangala Industrial Layout.
Our reporters joined techie and Bangalore Mirror reader Punith Minocha to witness this parking scam under the high tension tower in Koramangala Industrial Layout. (Punith has had frequent fights with the parking attendants there.)
With Punith at the wheel and our reporters in the backseat, this is what unfolded: As soon as we entered the parking area, a parking attendant swooped down on our vehicle and demanded parking fee.
When we asked why they were collecting parking fee, the tout said his employer had secured a contract from the BBMP. As a testimony to his words, he gave us a printed slip. However, the slip did not have the contractor’s name. When we asked for a copy of the contract, he replied, “It will be shown tomorrow as we do not have right now.” We paid him Rs 10, got the slip and left the place.
Right at the entrance, the contractor has put up a board saying the parking zone is a BBMP parking lot. A group of four to five people stand at various locations of the area and swoop down on vehicles entering the parking area. They forcibly collect parking fee by pointing at the board. They charge Rs 10 per hour from four-wheelers and Rs 5 per hour from two-wheelers. If you park your vehicle for nearly 12 hours in a day, then you need to shell out Rs 120.
NO CONTRACT
When Bangalore Mirror questioned the BBMP about this parking scam, the officials clarified that no contract was given in any part of the city, except on Brigade Road and Commercial street where automated parking is in vogue. BBMP South Zone Additional Commissioner K R Ramakrishna said, “Recently I took charge of South Zone and so far I have not given any permission to collect parking fees. I will look into the matter and the guilty persons will be booked for criminal offence.”
IT’S CRIMINAL
Reacting to the incident, Bangalore Metropolitan Task Force IGP Narayan Nadumani said, “If anyone is found collecting parking fees illegally from vehicle owners it is a criminal offence. People should come forward and lodge a complaint and a strict action will be taken against the offenders.”
EASY TARGET
Koramangala is easy pickings for parking contractors wanting to make a fast buck as it lacks parking spaces. The mafia operating in Koramangala Industrial Estate is exploiting the loopholes in BBMP’s parking monitoring system and looting several techies, corporate executives daily.
Here’s what Punith experienced in one of his earlier encounters with the parking attendants before he took part in the sting: “I was shocked when the parking attendant shouted at me to pay the amount for parking. As far as I know, there is no pay-and-park system in the city. Finally the argument led to a brawl between us. Later they stopped collecting fees from me. I am not the only victim. There are several who fight regularly with them.”
An upset Punith wrote to the BBMP commissioner about the parking scam to no avail.

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