Back to square one in Bhubaneswar shopping malls,  parking charges restarted

Shopping complexes in the city have restarted levying parking charges following an interim relief granted to a mall recently.
For representational purpose (Express Illustrations)
For representational purpose (Express Illustrations)

BHUBANESWAR:  Shopping complexes in the city have restarted levying parking charges following an interim relief granted to a mall recently. Even as Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA) imposed strict provisions to prevent collection of parking fees at malls and shopping complexes, some commercial establishments, including Esplanade One, have allegedly resumed levying the charges after a gap of nearly two months.

The collection of parking fee came to fore after some vehicle owners expressed resentment protesting the illegal act and lodged complaints with the civic authorities. “The civic authorities had announced that all malls who have got land at subsidised rate can’t charge parking fee. However, the collection has started at a shopping mall at Rasulgarh,” a vehicle owner alleged. Locals alleged that a mall at Patrapada was also collecting parking fee on Wednesday. 

However, a senior BDA official said they won’t be able to take action against Esplanade One due to a High Court order. “We have received an order from the Orissa High Court asking us not to take any coercive action against Esplanade One with regards to collection of parking fee,” the official informed Express over phone. 

The HC order is restricted to Esplanade only. Action will be taken against other malls if found collecting parking fees from the vehicle owners, he added.The BDA order issued earlier had stated that collection of parking fee at shopping malls, hospitals, multiplexes and apartments is not consistent with provisions of the BDA (Planning & Building Standards) Regulations, 2018. These establishments must provide mandatory off-street parking as per the provisions of BDA as their parking areas are exempted from Floor Area Ratio (FAR) calculation, the officials said.

Cuttack mall collects parking fee
Cuttack: Even though the Housing and Urban Development department had announced waiver of parking fee at malls and commercial establishments, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Arcade at Jail Road here continues to collect the fee from people. Many have expressed their discontentment stating that they are being forced to pay parking fees despite instruction from the department.  Pramod Mishra, a resident of Badambadi who visited the shopping mall, a joint venture project of Cuttack Development Authority, said, “After I came to know that parking fees had been abolished in shopping complexes, I was not prepared to pay the fee. I was surprised at being given a parking receipt of `20.”

“I parked my car midway and was firm in my decision not to pay the parking fee. That led to a 20 minute long argument. The parking fee collection staff maintained that they had been directed by the shopping mall manager to collect the fee from customers towards parking of their vehicles,” said Mishra.  A senior police officer, however, said the commercial establishments should have an order from a competent authority which permits them to collect parking fee.

Otherwise, they are not entitled to collect parking fee. As per the Shops and Establishments Act, it is the duty of the management to provide free parking to customers. Cases would be registered if the management fails to adhere to the rules, he added.  Mall manager Sanjay Das on the other hand claimed that he had heard about instruction to waive parking fee. “But we are yet to receive any written notice from the administration,” said Das. Collector and Vice-Chairman of CDA Bhabani Shankar Chayani, however, was not available for comment on the matter.

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