BENGALURU: A parking contractor at the Bengaluru City Railway Station is charging two-wheelers twice the prescribed minimum fee.
He was penalised Rs 5,000 just a month ago following a complaint, but the contractor continues his racket with no fear of the authorities. The fee fixed by the Bengaluru Railway division for two-wheelers is Rs 5 for up to two hours. Staff hired by contractor D K Kaladhara charge Rs 10. The fee was fixed in August.
A board about the fee is displayed at a far corner of the parking lot, and is not easily visible.
A couple got into an argument with supervisor G Mahesh on Friday. “I just parked my vehicle and went with my wife Gayatri to make an enquiry. We were back within 15 minutes and were asked to pay Rs 10,” said B A Srinivas, an engineering student at Don Bosco Institute of Technology.
When Mahesh spotted the couple speaking to this reporter, he hurriedly came back and returned Rs 5. “I took an additional Rs 5 for the helmet they had handed me,” he said sheepishly.
Gayatri protested, “I carried the helmet in my hand till the enquiry counter. He cannot lie like this.”
This is not an isolated incident. When this reporter spoke to those riding out of the parking lot, it came to light that all of them had been overcharged.
On December 9, when this reporter tried to collect a vehicle parked for a couple of days, the contractor demanded Rs 50 for every 24-hour cycle.
Bag of Lies
The amount was just Rs 40 a week earlier, but the attendant had a ready-made bluff: “Our boss has been awarded a new contract just now. Since December 7, we have hiked rates for all vehicles.”
However, the reality, as spelt out by Senior Divisional Commercial Manager N R Sridhara Murthy, is that the contractor is on a three-month contract, ending later this month.
“We have already advertised for a regular three-year contract and the tender is being finalised. The station will have a new contractor in the new year,” he said.
Overcharging can be punished with a fine between Rs 1,000 and Rs 5,000, provided complaints are lodged.
When contacted, contractor Kaladhara told Express he would “look into the matter” and ensure that it is “not repeated”.
Cars Get a Sly Discount
Four-wheelers parked overnight are given a huge discount at the City Railway Station parking lot, but that is only if drivers cut a deal with the attendant.
The prescribed hourly parking fee is Rs 20. For 24 hours, it works out to Rs 480.
“There is no special discount if you park for a full day,” said an employee who works for contractor Kaladhara. A prominent board confirms this position.
When this reporter said she wanted to park a car for a day, the attendant said, “I will charge you just Rs 250. Railways has fixed it at Rs 480. But nobody is willing to pay so much for just 24 hours, so we reduce it.”
He hastened to add, “It cannot be done after a slip is issued. You need to talk to the counter attendant well in advance when you leave your vehicle here.”
How to Complain
In case you are overcharged for parking at any railway station in the Bengaluru division, here is how you can complain:
You can also write down your grievances in the complaints books placed in the offices of the station master and the station manager.