Srinagar’s multi-level car parking fails to decongest city as rates are high

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The much famed multi-level car parking in the city centre Lal chowk constructed to decongest the roads is now deserted as people are reluctant to use the space for parking given its “high tariff”.

Thrown open in October this year, the car parking with capacity of over 400 cars and 100 two-wheelers took nearly four years to complete, as per officials.

Traders and commuters told The Kashmir Walla that it was not convenient for them to park their cars at the space as “rates are high”. 

“I have an office near the parking facility,” said a local trader. “I try to find alternate places to park my car as I have to pay around 100 rupees a day if I park my car there. It goes upto three thousand rupees a month. Given the loss to the business in past years, how can one afford such an amount?”

The facility, near the Press Enclave, was constructed at the cost of over 26 crore rupees and is being operated by Srinagar Development Authority (SDA).

An official, who works at the facility, told The Kashmir Walla that a fewer number of cars were being parked. The official added that “the number of parked cars remains 60 and it hardly goes up to 100 or 120”. 

While giving details of the amount charged for parking a car the official said, “For the first one hour the charge is rupees 20 and rupees 10 are added for each additional hour. If someone parks his/her car for a day the charge goes around rupees 95.” 

A traffic police officer, who is posted in the city centre, said that on a daily basis they try to clear roads but “people are reluctant to pay and use the parking facility”.

Dr. Bashir Ahmad Lone, Vice Chairman of the SDA, told The Kashmir Walla that they have decided to provide service to the daily visitor at minimum rates.

“The rate for car parking per month was 2000 rupees and after representations from the daily users we decided to minimize the charges to 1650 rupees per month,” said Lone.

He said that a space will be reserved for people who subscribe space on monthly basis, and “will be allowed multiple entries and whenever they wish to leave and come no additional charges are to be borne by them”.

The work on the said parking slot was taken up in November 2017 and was completed in June 2021. According to an official of the SDA, the prolonged uncertain situation led by the Covid19 pandemic in the valley delayed its completion process. 

The area of the facility is spread over 13 Kanals of land while the maximum part of the land has been used for parking purposes. Five elevators have been built inside the building aimed to provide convenience to people.

The business hub Lal Chowk was facing shortage of parking slots till two parking facilities were developed, which forced hundreds of vehicles to be stranded on roadsides leading to manifold troubles for commuters and pedestrians. Despite two parking facilities that have capacity to accommodate over 700 vehicles the troubles have hardly decreased.

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