LAHORE: The City District Government Lahore (CDGL) has been unable to stop the spread of illegal parking lots in the city, despite conducting several operations to either bring the illegal contractors under the purview of the government or to remove them from public property.

Most illegal parking lots have been established on public property that is illegally converted into a parking space at the expense of footpaths, service lanes, and parks in the commercial hubs of the city, including Model Town Link Road, Main Boulevard, Panorama, Anarkali, Neela Gunmbad, Moon Market, MM Alam Road, Liberty Market, Main Market Gulberg, Township, Garden Town, Shadman, Faisal Town, and Johar Town.

Such lots have become a major obstacle in the smooth flow of traffic and create problems for pedestrians as well. People are forced to walk on the roads and brave the heavy traffic to reach their destinations, as the footpaths are occupied by illegally parked cars. People who park their vehicles in illegal lots are also denied any compensation from the government if their cars are stolen, as the parking attendant does not have any legally binding contract.

Official protection: People living near illegal parking lots told Daily Times that such places were being run in collaboration with government inspectors, alleging they took bribes to protect the illegal facilities and did not take any action against them. Several illegal parking attendants have also printed fake parking tickets and parking contracts to protect themselves from customers who seek to confirm their legal status.

Meanwhile, several legal parking lot owners have started overcharging their customers despite strict instructions from Lahore District Coordination Officer Sajjad Bhutta. The government has imposed parking rates of Rs 10 for a car, Rs 5 for a motorcycle and Rs 3 for a bicycle, but several violators are charging Rs 20/car, Rs 10/motorcycle and Rs 5/bicycle.

Few days: The CDGL launched a citywide operation against all illegal and overcharging lots in April, but due to the large number of such locations, it was unable to raid all of them. In addition, several illegal lots are making a comeback due to the authorities being unable to conduct any follow-up operations. District Officer (Public Facilities) Afraz Ahmad said the government launched another operation against illegal parking lots on May 22, adding they would be legalised or eliminated within a few days.

He said the government had legalised 23 parking lots during the last operation, adding several illegal lots had been shut down and cases registered against the people running them. Ahmad said any lot found overcharging had been fined and warned to correct their rates or have their contracts cancelled. He said the CDGL only controlled 32 major arteries of the city, adding town administrations had to maintain discipline on the smaller roads and were likely unable to do so due to staff shortage.

Be heard: Ahmad also urged citizens to register a direct complaint to the DCO office or the office of public facilities if they discover any illegal parking in their areas, adding the government would not hesitate to act against those working under the jurisdiction of the towns.

Source: Daily Times