The proposed parking fee for two and four-wheelers on the streets of Bangalore is likely to be reduced with an eye on the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
There is a lot of confusion in the implementing agency, Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), with officials and elected representatives pulling in different directions on the issue. But District In-charge Minister R Ramalinga Reddy told Express: “Parking fee is necessary. But the proposed rate is slightly high and there is a need to reduce it.”
Both the ruling BJP in the corporation and the ruling Congress in the state do not want to antagonise the citizens of Bangalore, who will vote in three Lok Sabha constituencies and part of a fourth. If the Congress wants the fee reduced, the BJP wants the fee delayed as far as possible.
Mayor B S Sathyanarayana, from the BJP, told Express: “It will take at least three more months to implement the parking fee as the corporation council has not cleared it. The action plan on parking policy has just been placed on record, it has not been discussed or cleared by the council. As the issue came up as a subject last week, we cannot bring it again before the Council for the next 90 days. Till then, there is no question of charging parking fees.”
Further, the mayor said: “We will take it before the public, residents’ welfare associations and vehicle users for their opinion later.”
BBMP Commissioner M Lakshminarayana, however, is keen on calling for tenders anytime soon.
The parking policy, without the details of the fees, has already been cleared by both the BBMP council, in March 2012, and the state cabinet a year later.
“The fee proposed in not high. Private operators charge much higher than what we proposed. It is just an election gimmick and the leaders in State as well as BBMP are playing politics with this. But BBMP needs funds,” said an official, who declined to be named.
Lakshminarayana merely said: “I shall discuss the action plan with the councillors before calling for tenders.”
Ramalinga Reddy said there is no need to wait for three months. “It can be implemented anytime. But it depends on them - the councillors,” he said.
Satyanarayana was unhappy with the opposition from the public and media. “The private parking mafia is rampant. On many roads, the so-called parking fee is very high. But the public neither complain about this to the police nor to the BBMP. Now, when we are trying to streamline the parking fee, there is opposition from all quarters,” he said.
On Multi-storeyed vehicle parking (off-street parking), Satyanarayana said the fee had not been revised for several years. “The same will also be brought before the Council. We shall fix fees for the multi-storeyed parking,” he said.
He, however, said that fees will be different for on-street and off-street parking. “On-street is for short duration, while off-street is for longer hours,” he said.