Tuesday, October 13, 2009

IT’S COMMERCIAL TO PARK

IT’S COMMERCIAL TO PARK
We know of BBMP or the traffic police levying fines for illegal parking. But here’s a case of a mother and two daughters, who own Guddi’s Frame of Art Showroom on St John’s Road, neighbouring Commercial Street, forcing people to cough up as much as Rs 300 for leaving a vehicle on the premises even for a few minutes
M K ASHOKA & HEMANTH KASHYAP


With each passing day, parking space is shrinking in the city. So people resort to various ingenious, often illegal, means to garner precious space. Even more remarkable, however, is about what is being done to counter it. Especially by private property owners whose premises are brazenly encroached upon by those without any qualms about parking their vehicles wherever they find the space.
RAMPANT PROBLEM
The problem is especially rampant on Commercial Street and surrounding areas where those who come in for shopping park their vehicles for hours together in private premises. Often they gain entry into these places by hoodwinking security guards, by saying they have some work there.
Realising this, a large number of buildings do not allow visitors’ vehicles. Some buildings collect Rs 20 to 30 for an hour as parking fee.
But Sree Complex on St John’s Road is perhaps the only place where the owners collect a ‘fine’ of Rs 300 from each vehicle.
NOT SO FINE
A signboard outside Guddi’s Frames of Art showroom in Shree Complex declares, ‘Rs 300 fine for unauthorised parking’. The security guards keep a constant lookout for people who park their vehicles here and go shopping elsewhere. They then immediately inform Guddi’s owner about it.
When the unsuspecting vehicle owner comes back, he or she has a receipt of Rs 300 thrust into their hands. If the vehicle owner has the gumption to object, the middleaged owner, along with her two daughters, ensures that the fine is paid.
According to the law, only magistrates, traffic police and Regional Transport Officers (RTO) are authorised to levy fine.
SANDHYA’S STORY
On Oct 8, Sandhya, a housewife who parked her twowheeler in the parking lot of Shree complex for 10 minutes, had to pay Rs 300. “I and my cousin sister came from Marathalli and did not see the warning notice. It was just 10 minutes, but the guard gave us the receipt. When we objected, the owner of Guddi’s and her two daughters came out and demanded that we shell out the money,” she said.
“We tried to take the vehicle out, but the guards closed the entrance gate. When we pleaded with them, the three ladies asked us to go and beg on the road. A relative of ours, an army man, took offence to this. The ladies changed tack and rather impertinently asked him if he would keep quiet if the Pakistan army came to India.” Finally, Sandhya and her relative paid the ‘fine’ and left.
BBMP TO TAKE ACTION
When Bangalore Mirror contacted Guddi’s owner and her daughters, they first claimed that it’s their building and they can do anything. Later, they said they had just put up the board but do not collect any money. When they realised that we had a ‘receipt’ with us, they hectored us, saying that we should be reporting on the bad condition of the roads in the vicinity than write about this.
When the matter was brought to the notice of Venkataramana Nayak, BBMP Additional Commissioner, he said, “Collecting fines on their part is wrong and I have directed the concerned officer to take action immediately.”

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