While some believe that it is important to levy parking fees to encourage public transport, others criticise the GHMC move.

GHMC sets up paid parking service under Kukatpally flyoverSource: GHMC/Twitter
news GHMC Friday, March 12, 2021 - 08:53

To address growing concerns of traffic congestion at Kukatpally circle in Hyderabad, the GHMC has come up with a paid parking service under the Kukatpally flyover, opposite Forum mall. The GHMC will be charging a fee of Rs 10 for each vehicle per hour.

The move has faced criticism from a few city-based activists who have urged municipal officials to keep the service free. Transport experts on the other hand say the city should consider levying parking fees so as not to incentivize vehicle users by providing them free parking and also use it as a means to generate revenue.

The smart parking facility under the flyover will provide parking space to 200 vehicles and four tricycles in a 2000 square foot area. The city plans to charge Rs 10 per vehicle for an hour, and provide round the clock parking facility. “This is an initiative by the Zonal Commissioner as this part of Kukatpally sees a lot of vehicles visiting the Forum mall and JNTU. The service will open after the MLC elections,” said V Padmavathi, Deputy Commissioner, Kukatpally Circle, GHMC. The project cost GHMC Rs 43 lakhs and the space will be maintained by a third party. The booking of parking slots can also be done online and the parking area will have sign boards to display vacant slots, the officer added.

 

 

The move is set to benefit car owners like Aditi Ramesh, a dentist by profession who struggles to find parking spots, “It’s never easy to find parking spaces in Hyderabad on most working days. Today I had to park my vehicle on the road side where I am not supposed to park. But what choice do I have? If the city provides parking services, I will definitely be one of its users. If it's free, even better,” says the doctor.

According to the Hyderabad Traffic Police, in 2016 the city had 510 free parking spots, 25 paid parking spots and 15 parking areas managed by the GHMC, the latest figures are unavailable.  In 2018, the state government issued a Government Order allowing free parking in the city and free parking for the first 30 minutes at commercial establishments. The GO was issued in compliance with a 2003 Andhra Pradesh High Court order.

Chaitanya Kanuri, Transport Manager at World Resources Institute (WRI) India, a research organization working on issues of sustainable development, told TNM that while citizens may hold a view that parking services should be made free, it ends up subsidizing the use of personal vehicles over public transport, “The city is paying for the cost of parking your car or bike on expensive urban real estate. Paid parking provides an additional revenue stream for cash-strapped municipal corporations, which could be used to support public amenities like footpaths and public transport services, which can be used by all urban residents,” she pointed out.

Vijay Gopal, a city based anti-corruption activist who had lobbied in 2018 for free parking in the city said the move by the GHMC to now levy parking fees sends a wrong message, “It will send a wrong message, while private commercial establishments are supposed to provide parking for free, the GHMC turns around and levies a charge” says Vijay, “This will make the commercial establishments demand that rules around them should be relaxed. Already single screen theatre owners are lobbying to get the rules watered down,” says this activist. He adds that the new parking rule will create more traffic on the roads when people park or take their vehicles out, “Parking should be on the road side, rather than under the flyover,” he adds.

Some citizens opined that parking is a basic amenity that should be provided free of cost, while several argued others that parking lots take up valuable public space.

 

 

 

 

The GHMC is also formulating a dedicated parking policy for the city with the aim of regulating the parking fees. The Director of (EV&DM) Vishwajit Kampati, told Hans India that the GO 63 is being amended to make it more stringent to curb commercial establishments from overcharging customers. The officer was unavailable for comment.

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