Robbery ‘parked’ in south


Exorbitant parking fees are being charged on hapless commuters at the Ernakulam Junc-tion.

Though billboards specifying the rates are displayed prominently at the station, even those who want to park their vehicles for half-an-hour are forced to dole out Rs 10.

“I came to the station just to inquire about details of trains to get to Coimbatore. I told them I’ll be back in 10 minutes.

They have given me a ticket of Rs 10, whereas the parking rates displayed here show that only Rs 2 needs to be paid for two-wheelers for first two hours, while Rs 10 is for more than 24 hours,” Treesa Fernandes, 34, a native of Palluruthy, said.

This is a common experience of anyone who parks their vehicle at the railway station. Even two different rates are levied for parking.

“We charge a minimum Rs 5 for parking the two-wheelers at the reservation counter and Rs 10 elsewhere,” staff emplo-yed by the contractor said.

Railways have given out rights to collect parking fees to agencies or individuals on contract basis without any measures to monitor whet-her the contractor are levying prescribed rates.

“We are asked to collect this much amount by our contractor as there are several cases when the owners park their vehicles and come back only the next day. Yes, we’ve a minimum ticket of Rs 5 though,” parking attendant said.

“This is broad daylig-ht looting of common man. Extra charges are collected when there is not even a shed unlike other stations like Thir-uvananthapuram.

Vehi-cles are parked in the open air, vulnerable to rain and sun,” All Ker-ala Railway Users Asso-ciation president Paul K.J. Manvattom said.

Private vehicles hijack KSTRC bus depots

Even while commuters complain about the steep charges levied at the Ernakulam railway station, they face an entirely different problem at the main bus depot in the city.

There is not enough space for all the KSRTC buses to park there. Which means commuters have no place to park their vehicles.

Suneera Hamza, who runs a Speech Therapy clinic in Cherthala, voiced the grievance of many when she said, “There are some regular travelers like me who commute daily to adjacent satellite towns of Cherthala or Aluva for work.

If there had been parking space at the bus stand, I could have come by two-wheeler from my house in Kathrikadavu. Presently I am spending Rs 30 on auto fare just to reach the bus stop in the morning and to return to my house in the evening.”

It’s a common sight to notice passengers parking their two-wheelers in the adjacent GCDA-owned land on the premises of Ambed-kar stadium, a strictly no parking zone.

Though the authorities maintain that vehicles can be parked there, the GCDA ‘No parki-ng’ sign points to the opposite.

“Totally, the depot has about five acres of land but nearly 100 cents of this have been taken over for the Kochi metro project.

Though they have provided replacement land nearby, the resurfacing work has been pending for a long time. We don’t have sufficient space to park all our buses,” a KSRTC official said.

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