Green panel whip on MCD: Build parking lots by August

The Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) has put the MCD on notice. It has asked the civic body to provide parking on 3,000-odd commercial and mixed-land-use streets by August. 
If the MCD fails to meet the deadline, EPCA will declare these streets no-parking zones and the civic agency will have to give back the Rs 811 crore that it has collected from traders in the form of conversion, parking and registration charges over the past four years, said EPCA member Sunita Narain. EPCA is monitoring the governments parking policy according to Supreme Court guidelines.

The MCD had collected the amount from traders to upgrade infrastructure and, particularly, create parking lots. But not a single parking lot has come up in the past four years.

MCD press and information director Deep Mathur told TOI: The money collected as conversion and parking charges is being used for various parking projects. We are also using it for other development projects such as upgradation of roads. There are thousands of traders who are yet to pay the conversion and parking charges and the civic agency is sealing their properties.

But some officials in the civic agency admitted that a large chunk of the money collected had not been used as the parking projects had been inordinately delayed.

'Secretary of Lajpat Nagar Traders Association D N Rajpal said: Each trader in Lajpat Nagar has paid Rs 2 lakh to Rs 3 lakh as conversion and parking charges but we are yet to be provided with a solution to the parking problem. On top of that, the civic agency has told us not to park our cars in front of our shops. We, too, dont want to park our cars in front of our shops but what alternative do we have?

When asked about the delay, MCD officials said most companies were not willing to invest in parking projects.

The automated parking projects were conceptualised on a build-operate-transfer basis but companies were not keen as most of the projects involved an investment of Rs 200 crore. In many cases, like the car parking project at Rani Bagh, we had to call tenders thrice before any company showed interest.

There are 143 surface parking sites in the city which can accommodate 15,000 vehicles. Delhi has over 60 lakh registered vehicles. With parking problems increasing by the day, the civic agency has floated tenders for 120 surface parking projects. It has also lined up several stack parking, automated multi-level parking and conventional parking projects.

The multi-level parking project was conceptualised way back in 2003. An MCD official said: Fourteen multi-level parkings will be constructed. While work has started in Kamla Nagar after a delay of three years, tenders have been awarded for five sites. DIMTS has been appointed project management consultant for four sites and three sites are still under consideration.

The parking lots will come up in Kamla Nagar, Lajpat Nagar, Defence Colony, Shastri Park and South Extension Part-I and Part-II. These will provide parking space for 9,428 cars.

MCD had also hired consultants to identify strip parking sites along footpaths on the 3,000-odd commercial and mixed-land-use streets. The consultant has till date submitted reports for Karol Bagh and Paharganj.

The construction of 24 conventional car parking sites under the green cover was proposed by MCD in 2007. Work is in progress on 13 sites, but only four will be ready by the time the Commonwealth Games take place.

The idea of building a stack parking facility was also floated in 2007 but was scrapped. Now, MCD has revived the idea. Tenders have been floated for four sites and work has started in Paharganj and Karol Bagh. 
Municipal Corporation of Delhi
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