The Kolkata Municipal Corporation has planned a major crackdown on car parking mafia who have been extorting motorists. Mayor Firhad Hakim on Thursday launched two 24×7 helpline numbers — 155360 and 1800 345 3375 — where one can lodge complaints and seek redressal from civic authorities. Hakim also inaugurated vans that will move across the city to make citizens aware about the rights and duties while parking vehicles.
Hakim said that the civic body was fighting to ensure rights of motorists at the city’s car parking zones. “I must admit that a powerful racket and middlemen are responsible for fleecing motorists. But this must stop. We shall not spare agencies who don’t follow our guidelines for car parking,” Hakim said.
Sources in the KMC car parking department said the civic top brass had to decide on the crackdown on a section of agencies running Kolkata’s car parking lots, following complaints from car owners who accused some of the attendants of fleecing and misbehaving with them. “We have been receiving plenty of complaints. We identified some of these attendants and asked the agencies running the parking lots to remove them immediately,” an official said.
However, a section of officials said that some agencies compel the attendants to mop up revenue fast. This was why the attendants refused stick to the civic body’s parking rates and charged extra. Whoever refuses to pay extra is harassed by the attendants under pressure to reach the revenue target as set by the owners of the car parking agencies,” another senior KMC official said.
Sources in the KMC said they were focusing on some prime car parking areas, which have become “vice dens”. Burrabazar, BBD Bagh, Esplanade, Lindsay Street, Park Street, Shakespeare Sarani, Camac Street, Bhowanipore, New Alipore, Gariahat are few such trouble spots where car owners are often fleeced by a section of the parking attendants.
A civic official said that with help from a section of ruling party politicians, some agencies ran fake car parking lots not authorized by the civic body. “We are keeping a close watch on the activities of a section of car parking agencies and will take appropriate steps,” Debasis Kumar, member mayor-in-council, overseeing the KMC car parking department, said.
Source: Times of India