Tuesday, May 18

New Market parking facility may reopen before Puja

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After a nightmarish three years, shoppers and shopkeepers at New Market can expect some relief ahead of Durga Puja, following Kolkata Municipal Corporation’s decision to reopen the parking facility below the market’s patio along Lindsay Street. According to sources, the KMC may allow parking of 70 cars initially. The facility can accommodate 270 cars.

A series of meetings was held at the civic headquarters on Monday to work out the modalities for restarting the parking lot. According to officials, a tender will soon be floated to invite bids for operating the underground parking facility that was shut in March 2016 following safety concerns raised by the fire department that had inspected the Simpark shopping complex. The shops are in the first basement and the car parking lot is in the second basement.

While most shops were shut, some continued to operate. Once the parking facility reopens, owners of shops that are shut hope they, too, will be allowed to conduct business.

The fire department, though, is treading with caution. “We want foolproof fire-safety measures at the parking facility and the market before allowing more cars in there,” an official said.

Members of SS Hogg Market Traders’ Association, however, said the reason behind the closure was a dispute between KMC and the firm that had built and used to operate the facility. KMC had earlier taken over another facility operated by the same company on Rawdon Street.

In the past, there have been instances of hawkers harassing shoppers attempting to park at the KMC-designated slots on Bertram Street. A woman had even lodged an FIR after hawkers behaved aggressively with her.

Member mayor in council (parking) Debasish Kumar said KMC was keen to reopen the facility before Durga Puja. “We are trying to float the tender by this week so that expressions of interest come in by early next month,” he said.

Source: Times of India

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