Rajesh Jogpal, Panchkula Municipal Corporation Commissioner, in an interview to Chandigarh Newsline explains the rationale behind the paid parking system in the city, similar to the one in Chandigarh.

What made Panchkula Municipal Corporation consider setting up a paid parking system?

In 2009, the elected members of the Municipal Council of Panchkula gave the nod for setting up a paid parking in Panchkula and a tender for the same was also floated. But then it was opposed and going by the public opinion, the initiative was cancelled. Now, after we learnt that the market associations were unable to manage the parking lots and we had also been receiving a few suggestions from the public, the plan for setting up the parking system was considered.

After conducting trial of paid parking for two days, what have you assessed?

We have conducted the trial run in the parking lots of Sectors 8,9,10 for two days. The two-day trial was conducted during the peak days, so as to check the response of residents, and if there were any problems then those can be sorted out when the plan is executed permanently. We have received a mixed feedback from people and we have assessed the revenue as well. We consider the trial to be successful. The profit from the two-day trial of the paid parking will be given to the Red Cross Society.

During the trial, why have you kept the prices similar to those in Chandigarh, Rs 10 for two-wheelers and Rs 20 for four wheelers?

When Panchkula residents go to Chandigarh, they pay the same price for parking, and I do not see any major protest by the public in Chandigarh. If residents can accept the parking rates in Chandigarh then why not in Panchkula. Parking is a source for local bodies and we expect that if it becomes paid in Panchkula as well, it will generate a revenue of Rs 10-Rs 20 crore per annum and the benefit of revenue collected will be used for the welfare of the city, which every Panchkula resident should support.

If the Panchkula MC is going to make parking paid similar to Chandigarh, what benefits the people will get here. Will it be smart too?

The paid parking in Panchkula will be better and different than one in Chandigarh. We will not make the parking smart just on papers but will provide every basic necessity. There will be toilets in the parking lots, RO machines for drinking water, sun shelters, and also mobile phone charging points. The prices for the paid parking are not yet decided, however, it may be equivalent to Chandigarh parking lots, but in Panchkula people will pay it once for a day and not just for few hours like Chandigarh. After the parking system is made paid completely, we will make it smart as well.

There has been opposition from residents and the welfare societies in Panchkula against the execution of paid parking?

We want the Panchkula residents to support their Municipal Corporation for making parking safe and secure. With the paid parking system, the parking authorities will be responsible for any problem that occurs there. But, still, if there is too much opposition from the residents, we will consider the best option for development of Panchkula.

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