Parking in Panchkula markets is a pain

Governance Parking

2-wheelers pose main problem; shop ownersseek paid parking

Panchkula: Haphazard parking is proving to be a major challenge for the citizens of Panchkula.

Lack of paid parking and improper demarcation for four-wheelers and two-wheeler in markets causes haphazard parking. 

“The two-wheeler parking system is really bad. Around eight years ago, there was a proper system in this market, but now people quarrel when told to park their vehicles properly,” said Sachin Chhabra, a shop owner from the Sector 11 market.

“We are fed up. We lose prospective customers if they don’t find parking space. Loading and unloading goods has also become a major challenge,” said Jeetendra Garg, another shop owner in the market. 

Garg believes two-wheeler parking is the root of the problem. “Making two footpaths was a waste of money. One of these should be converted into a bike and scooter parking lane. The association should solve this matter, but they’ve always been inactive,” he said.

Satish Gulati, a shop owner and president of the Sector 11 Market Association, had a different take. “We have raised this issue with the Municipal Corporation many times, but no action has been taken. We even hired guards to organize our parking. The previous traffic DCP used to help, but now nobody does,” Gulati informed The Observer.

Shoppers at these markets are also irked by the lack of proper parking spaces.

“This shows that people do not have common sense,” said Jeetendra Sharma. 

Another shopper, Lakhwinder Singh, said: “Only paid parking can bring a proper system to the markets.”

Even shop owners are in favour of implementing a paid parking system. “I don’t think people will mind paying Rs 10. Proper parking will reduce this chaos,” said Chhabra.

Similar problems are faced in markets located in residential Sectors such as 15 and 20. Residents of these sectors face problems during rush hours when there is a heavy inflow of vehicles into the sector. 

“Bring in paid parking might encourage people to walk, instead of using cars,” said Anish Sharma, a resident of Sector 15. “The main problem is lack of space. The Municipal Corporation needs to find more parking space for our market.” 

Earlier, paid parking was introduced in the markets of Sectors 8, 9 and 10.

“People don’t like to pay for parking. Even small shopkeepers feel it discourages shoppers. So paid parking was introduced on a trial basis and tenders were released later for three markets only. Now we’re thinking of expanding the project to Sector 20 as well,” said Jarnail Singh, Executive Officer of Municipal Corporation Panchkula (MCP).

Asked why paid parking was not being implemented in Sector 11, one of the busiest markets of the city, Singh said: “There is not enough space to implement the project.” 

Lalchand Chaudhary, the contractor who handles the parking systems of the three markets, does not agree with Singh’s claim.

“Paid parking is the need of the hour in Sector 11, along with Sectors 7 and 20. Space can be created by making proper demarcations. One can see how organized these three markets are. The same can be done with other sectors also,” Chaudhary said. 

Paid parking helps the Red Cross Society. Half of the parking revenue of Sectors 8, 9 and 10 goes to the NGO, which runs an old-age home and organizes blood-donation camps.

“We struggled to pay salaries to our workers. We shared this problem with the MC, and they agreed to give us a share of proceeds from the parking lots,” said Savita Agarwal, Secretary of Red Cross Society, Panchkula.

Panchkula, just like its neighbour city Chandigarh, has seen an increase in the number of vehicles. With the parking space available remaining the same, this increase has contributed to the problem of haphazard parking. Citizens hope paid parking can be introduced in the busy markets of Panchkula. 

abhishek.s@iijnm.org

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