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Weird parking rule in Odisha capital: Pay the fee, but park at your risk!

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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jun 15:

Vehicle owners in Odisha’s capital city beware! If you think the fee that you pay at one of the many parking lots run by the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) is a guarantee against theft of or damage to your vehicle, think again.

Picture Courtesy: telegraphindia.com
Picture Courtesy: telegraphindia.com

In a classic example how private agencies, backed by the politician-bureaucrat nexus, are holding the people in Odisha’s capital city to ransom, neither BMC nor the agency commissioned by it to run parking lots in the city takes responsibility in case of theft or damage.

The agency, which has been given parking lots in 17 important junctions of the city, charges Rs 5 for two-wheelers and Rs 20 for four-wheelers for parking up to four hours. The charges are doubled every four hours and if a vehicle makes an exit and re-entry within four hours, it is charged again.

BMC officials and their agency employees go out of their way to collect parking fee, often without a ticket. But when it comes to taking responsibility for the vehicle, both BMC and the agency wash their hands off.

Adding insult to injury, BMC actually justifies the shirking of responsibility.

“BMC won’t be responsible if a vehicle gets stolen from parking area as the parking responsibility has been handed over to a private agency. The agency also cannot be held accountable as the fee they collect from users for parking their vehicle on the road is user’s fee. The only thing the agency is going to do is, it will lodge a complaint with the police,” said BMC Deputy Commissioner Subhranshu Mishra.

Thank BMC for small mercies!

Mishra avoidedall our questions when we countered his logic pointing out that users pay the road tax to RTO for using the road and it doesn’t make sense to pay BMC again. He also failed to explain what action is being taken to control the illegal parking fee being collected from Janpath.

“We once held a tender to collect parking fee from Janpath, but there were no participants. We have restarted the tender process again. As of now, no one has been authorized to collect parking fee there,” he said.

Apart from illegal collection of parking fees, the short parking duration of four hours at parking places makes it difficult for shop owners to park their vehicles at the designated area. In order to avoid repeated billing, they prefer to park it at other available places leading to traffic chaos.