ROURKELA: In blatant violation of guidelines, several commercial complexes and shopping malls in Rourkela are illegally charging exorbitant parking fees from visitors. Even as the Steel City grapples with traffic congestion issues on the city main road, many business establishments have come up on the stretch without having parking provisions in violation of Rourkela Development Authority (RDA) guidelines. However, neither the RDA bothers to take visible action against the violators nor Rourkela Municipal Corporation (RMC) restricts illegal collection of parking fee.
RDA sources informed that it is mandatory to have parking lots with sizes of 25 per cent, 30 per cent and 40 per cent of the total built-up area of residential apartments, mid-size and large commercial establishments respectively. Violation may lead to sealing of a building.
For instance, Shanti Tower, a multi-storey shopping mall housing the Big Bazaar and Cineplex, is situated at the most congested portion of the main road. It charges `30 parking fee for a four-wheeler and `10 for a two-wheeler for initial three hours from shoppers. In a bid to avoid the hefty fee, many visitors to Shanti Tower park their cars and two-wheelers on the overflowing main road. Similarly, exorbitant parking fees are collected by the Cross-Road shopping mall near railway station while PSR Cinema charges `20 from a two-wheeler.
Sources pointed out that multi-storey shopping complexes including Style Bazaar, Vishal Mega Mart and many sprawling showrooms such as Indera Garments, Indera Plaza, Ghar Sansar Mart, City Super Bazaar, Tanishq and Khimji do not have own parking lots. Massive traffic snarls during rush hours due to vehicles parked on road in front of these commercial establishments are a regular affair.
City resident Rajesh Chaturvedi said police have banned four-wheeler parking on the main road and are even penalising violators. However, commercial complexes mint money from people by illegally collecting parking fees with impunity. He said commercial buildings not adhering to parking norms should be sealed.
Since last year, the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation has declared collection of parking fees by commercial complexes as illegal. Rourkela ADM and RDA secretary Aboli Sunil Naravane declined to comment on the issue for being on leave.