Srinagar: A couple of motorcycles, scooters and a chain of cars are parked in the freshly drawn rectangular boxes inside the yellow line on MA Road outside Women’s College Srinagar. The lines and boxes signify the new roadside paid parking zones created by the Srinagar Municipal Corporation.
Several drivers, confused and annoyed over the rates charged, exchange heated arguments with a parking attendant employed by SMC.
A rate list displayed for the public reads: One minute to 30 minutes—5, 31-60 minutes—5, 61-90 minutes—5, 91-120 minutes—5, and rupees 10 for every subsequent half hour.
According to the list, the vehicles are charged Rs 5 for each half hour for first two hours, and Rs 10 for subsequent half hours.
However, many enter into arguments over how long they parked, in the absence of a proper mechanism.
“There are no proper receipts that can inform people for how long they parked vehicles. Sometimes people run without giving money and use foul language when we ask for the required amount,” A parking attendant at one of the spots said wishing anonymity.
Shah Ahmad Aslam, a retired government employee, who had parked his car at Residency Road, told a caretaker that he would not pay a single penny unless he receives a proper receipt.
“I don’t know what are you going to do with the amount? I parked my vehicle for over two hours and you give me a 10 rupee receipt,” he told the parking attendant.
Aslam told Kashmir Reader that before introducing such moves preparation should have been done. “Haste makes waste,” he said.
Another parking attendant said that manpower at the parking spots was too little to handle the entire stretch.
“We fail to understand how to manage it. If a person parks vehicle on one side and we approach him with the ticket but at the same time other person from the other end whose receipt has already been booked leaves without paying the amount,” he said “The department (SMC) will think I took the money while as the reality is different.”
Similarly, heated arguments were also witnessed at Kara Nagar when the caretaker demanded 10 rupees from people who said they had hardly parked vehicles for 15 minutes.
Authorities have introduced the paid roadside parking zones, in consultation with traffic police, in an effort to “inculcate traffic sense” and manage the traffic mess in the city.
SMC, Commissioner Riyaz Ahmad Wani said the project was in its infancy. “Such things issues happen in the beginning,” he said.
Around 20 people from SMC have been stationed at various operational paid roadside parking, he said adding that the paid parking spots would be handed over to unemployed youth through a tender.
“Our preference is to involve local people and all these parking will be handed over to unemployed youth after issuing proper tender. We will be charging minimum amount from them,” Wani said.
He said 1500 roadside parking spots are proposed in the district of which 47 have already been identified, while eight have been made operational.
“Around 90 percent of the traffic conjunction will be resolved, and besides that the decision will provide employment to several people,” Wani said.