The City District Government Lahore (CDGL) has failed to control over-charging at parking stands in the city, with the Public Facilities Department having only five field inspectors to check and collect the revenue from 250 parking stands.
According to a survey conducted by The News, almost all parking stands across the provincial metropolis have doubled parking fee for all kinds of vehicles and the parking contractors are openly violating the CDGL ordinance.
Previously, the parking stands were charging Rs 10 for a car, Rs 5 for a motorcycle and Rs 3 for a cycle. Now, they are charging Rs 20 for a car, Rs 10 for a motorcycle and Rs 5 for a cycle. Interestingly, even the parking stands outside the District Coordination Office are charging double rates.
There are 250 registered parking stands operating in the city but the Public Facilities Department of the CDGL has not enough manpower to check all these parking stands on regular basis.
A senior official in Public Facilities Department of CDGL, on condition of anonymity, claimed that influential parking stand mafia had been operating over 100 parking stands illegally on various city roads in connivance with CDGL officials for the last several years and the CDGL had completely failed to take any action against them. Besides, the department officials had also given a free hand to the contractors to overcharge the visitors without any fear, they added.
Last year, the CDGL had planned to establish 349 new computerized parking stands in the city to control the overcharging issue in the city but the CDGL could only establish one computerized parking stand in the Liberty area with huge investment but the same was closed down within next three months due to some unknown reasons.
The issue of overcharging by parking stand contractors is not a new phenomenon and a large number of public complaints against such contractors are awaiting action by the CDGL. The overcharging has not only doubled problems of the commuters but has also been causing traffic mess on the roads.
The major city roads – including Jail Road, Davis Road, Ferozpur Road, Litton Road, Circular Road, Wahdat Road, The Mall, Egertan Road, McLeod Road, Main Boulevard Gulberg, MM Alam Road, Defence Road, Allama Iqbal Road, Multan Road and Iqbal Town Road – have become a hub of both legal and illegal parking stands. Most of these stands have encroached upon the service lanes besides the main roads.
Moreover, most of the restaurants, hotels, private hospitals, schools and colleges, banks, multi nationals and commercial buildings have also granted parking stand contracts outside their premises after encroaching upon the service lanes. They are also getting the same double amount from the parking contractors. Parking stands outside all the major private parks and other entertainment places have also started charging new rates. While the establishment of illegal parking stands and extension of the CDGL parking stands, traffic blockage has become a routing matter on various major city roads. Talking to The News, Public Facilities DO Fahad Anees said that now the department would be able to check all the parking stands as the Punjab Government was going to establish the Lahore Parking Company in near future. He said that the department had completed the mapping process of the new parking company and the advertisement for the appointment of the parking general manager had also been published in the newspapers.
Fahad said that, to control the overcharging at city parking stand, was a difficult task for Public Facilities department as he had only five field inspectors for the entire city. He said that dozens of FIRs had been lodged against the parking contractors who were found overcharging the citizens but he failed to tell the name of even a single contractor whose parking contract had been cancelled by him.
The DO Public Facilities said that the Lahore Parking Company would change the entire scenario in the city and the concept of overcharging would be eliminated. He said that the CDGL would provide the places for parking besides the computers with GPS technology to parking contractors and the Lahore Parking Company would independently handle these parking stands.
A Central Control Room would be established in the Lahore Parking Company where the latest database servers would be installed to monitor the entire city parking stands.
DCO Noor ul Ameen was contacted on his phone but he was not available for comments on the issue.