Roshan Sageer & Sanjana Surbhi
Express BureauKhan Market has bid goodbye to free parking as the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) took over the parking lot last week.
Parking at the market has been free for several years and was managed by parking attendants who were paid by traders in the area. Following the takeover by NDMC, parking charges stand at Rs 20 per hour. “Five years ago, we handed over parking in the area to a private party for which they had to pay Rs 5 lakh per month. But they stopped giving the rent and said parking was being provided for free. This was a violation of the agreement… So an inquiry was conducted, and NDMC sent a notice asking them to pay dues to the tune of Rs 3.5 crore. They didn’t pay, so action was taken on Monday,” an NDMC official said.
Traders in the area, meanwhile, have written to the NDMC to change its decision.Pamphlets in support of the parking attendants — who are out of jobs — are also being circulated in the market. Khan Market Traders’ Association president Sanjiv Mehra said failure to build underground parking and trouble managing the parking area led to non-payment.
“In 2011, the court had ordered the NDMC to build an underground parking lot… In the meantime, Khan Market Traders Association was directed to pay Rs 5,34,207 per month to NDMC… by the end of two years, the parking was expected to be ready. We agreed. As per the contract, we were entitled to collect money from neighbouring markets but it proved difficult. We informed them in 2013 that it would not be possible for us to run it. We even hired an agency, but even they could not manage it. We have also suggested to the NDMC to employ these attendants if they do not retract the plan,” Mehra said.
Roshan Sageer & Sanjana Surbhi are students of NSoJ and are interns with The Indian Express, New Delhi