Come May 1, tourists and locals, who have been freely parking their vehicles on roadsides in the tourist town of Ooty, will have to pay a fee.
For the first time, the Ooty municipality has decided to collect a parking fee of `10 for two wheelers, `50 for cars, `100 for vans and `150 for buses.
Unlike other towns in the State, Ooty has never had any paid parking facilities and both tourists and locals were free to park their vehicles on roadsides. Locals would park their vehicles in front of shops and leave them there till evening, with no place for tourist vehicles. This has hit business and caused chaos on roads. The municipality identified seven roads where parking fee would be charged. The six spots where fee would be charged are Commercial Road (from Municipal Bharathiar Commercial Complex to Big Shop), Lower Bazaar (Variety Hall to Central Bus Stand), Upper Bazaar (Hotel Amirdha to Five Corner), Ettines Road (ATC Theatre to Woodlands Hotel), Hanslose (ATC Junction to Dharvesh Mahal Mandapam)and Wenlock Road. The road away from the main town is Kandhal Mookonam. The move is expected to increase the revenue of the municipality. However, since it does not have adequate employees to take care of parking, the fee will be collected through contractors for three years, till 2016, for which tenders would be invited.
Meanwhile, the municipality has also decided to construct a mega parking lot on three acres of land near the central bus stand.