By Ufaq Fatima
Srinagar: The parking space in ski-resort of Gulmarg remains covered under snow but the vehicle owners are forced to pay for parking even if they halt their vehicles on roadside.
Visitors to the health resort alleged that GDA and Dumail Contractors are playing foul to snatch money from the people.
“The entry fee at Tangmarg has been enhanced from Rs 40 to Rs 75. To top it all, Rs 30 are charged to park the vehicle at any spot,” rued a local driver.
“During my two day visit to Gulmurg I had to pay Rs 30 each time I parked the car even for five minutes. The authorities are simply looting the public. One can imagine the plight of tourists visiting the area,” said Nasir Rasheed, who visited the area recently.
The frequent toll system is reducing the business of local shopkeepers too as visitors are in hurry to get the proper parking space for their cars.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO), GDA, Shafqat Iqbal said that Dumil contactors have earned the tender for parking lots against an amount of Rs 16 lacs. He said the contractors have been allotted three parking spaces while the parking lot near Gandola is meant for officials only.
“There is no parking place for public vehicles within the Gulmurg but still we allow the cars which carry senior citizen inside and they have to park vehicles on road,” he said.
He said snow has been cleared from all the parking lots but it is piled up on the peripheries and squeezes the actual space.
“During huge rush of visitors especially on Sundays, we are out of parking space. The cars are parked on roads on thjose days but people have to pay for it,” he said.
He justified double-entry fee for the tourist vehicles as Gulmarg is managed by GDA while neighboruing Tangmarg village is run by Tangmarg Municipal Council (TMC).
“They system is going on the same way for many years. We will see if it can be made more convenient for the public,” he said.