One shouldn’t be surprised if a motorist remembers the lines ‘Water, water, everywhere, Nor any drop to drink’ at the busy East Fort area in the city. This happens when two City Corporation-owned parking lots offer a relief from the parking woes experienced in the place; but, sadly, the one at Putharikandam Maidan that was thrown open in September last year is yet to get due attention or response from the motorists.
So, when the Corporation is auctioning the operations of its parking lots for the 2014-15 fiscal, both Gandhi Park and Putharikandam parking lots have been put for re-auctioning. According to sources in the City Corporation, Gandhi Park saw one respondent who quoted a lesser amount than the solvency sum of Rs 12,50,000 and for Putharikandam parking lot, none turned up with an offer. This is happening when residents have to elbow through the hectic traffic and struggle to ensure a safe shelter for the vehicles in the major business centre of the city.
Since its inauguration in September last year, the Putharikandam parking lot has been receiving flak, for it has not been catching the attention of motorists and many people are unaware of the availability of such a facility in the place. “Last year, when a contractor came up to operate the parking area for a year, he could do it for less than four months. A delay occurred in putting in place the lighting facilities and the contractor suffered loss as not many turned up to park vehicles, especially after sunset,” said the source.
When the space inside Gandhi Park spills over, the next resort for motorists are the wayside areas as most of the shops in the East Fort area have no space to offer parking for customers. If parking fee is blamed for motorists avoiding the Putharikandam lot, the number of vehicles at the pay-and-park facility at Central railway station’s second entrance and the nearby Gandhi Park would prove it wrong. When contacted, Deputy Mayor G Happykumar said the Corporation on its own has no plans to attract motorists to the Putharikandam parking lot. “If sign boards have to be set up, that has to be done by the contractor,” he said.
Putharikandam is the sixth parking lot opened by the civic body and the others, apart from Gandhi Park, are at Thampanoor, Museum, Sreekanteswaram and Shangumugham.