The central districts in general and the Tiruchi city in particular are steadily feeling the pinch of the burgeoning vehicle population posing challenge to traffic managers and the vehicle users. Parking of vehicles posed a major problem in Tiruchi city and other major towns like Thanjavur and Karur.

Not only there are no specific parking lots on the main thoroughfares in the city, even the existing parking lots run by the corporation, railway authorities and by private people are not adequate enough to hold the ever increasing vehicle population. It is the exorbitant fee charged at the private parking lots that is causing a great concern to the residents of these towns.

Many vehicle users say that the government authorities should initiate effective steps to regulate the functioning of the private parking lots, which take them for a ride.

The glaring example, is while Rs. 4 is collected for the parking of two-wheelers for 24 hours in the parking lots at Tiruchi Railway Junction, Golden Rock railway station, and the central bus stand, the private parking lots collect more than double the amount. For example, the fee for parking the two-wheelers at parking lots at TVS Tollgate is Rs. 10 and for bicycles Rs. 5 a day, it is Rs. 7 for two-wheelers for the parking lots at Pallpannai and G. Corner junction. It is sheer exploitation of innocent vehicle users, many allege.

Serious action is initiated even on simple complaints against the erring contractors running the big parking lots at the railway junction and the central bus stand by the railway and the corporation. The corporation should wield the same yardstick to regularise the private parking lots too, they feel.

The parking lots at both railway junction and the central bus stand are not adequate enough to tackle the huge volume of vehicles. Every inch of the space available in these parking lots is occupied by vehicles and on many occasions, the lot at the central bus stand is locked as it could not hold more vehicles. Moreover, a majority of the vehicles are parked in the open, due to the non-availability of adequate shelter.

The need of the hour is multi-storeyed dedicated parking lots in the vacant corporation and municipal sites at the important junctions with immediate effect. The local bodies should also come forward to establish more underground and multi-storeyed parking lots for decongesting high traffic zones, says Sundara Cholan, a resident of Karanthai near Thanjavur and employed in Tiruchi.

The parking fee collected in the cinema halls has come in for sharp criticism from movie buffs.

Almost all the theatres collect invariably Rs. 10 for the parking of two-wheeler for three hours. During the release of the new films starring top stars and also during the weekend holidays, the parking fee is sometimes increased , says Anu a regular moviegoer.

While only Rs. 4 is charged for the parking of two-wheelers for 24 hours at the railway junction, charging Rs. 10 for three hours in cinema halls is a bit on the higher side, she points out.