Buying a vehicle is easy these days. But, finding a space to park it is not. The problem is getting worse with more and more vehicles eating into the already shrunken space of the city.
Yet, two ambitious projects — a multi-level car parking system on the link road and a mobility hub between the Thondayadu and Malaparamba junctions — proposed to address the city’s parking woes, are hanging fire.
On September 6, 2010, the then Industries Minister Elamaram Karim laid the foundation stone for the modular parking system, which was to offer parking facility for 63 cars at a time. Though years have passed after the pompous ceremony, the land identified remains undeveloped.
The Kerala Sustainable Urban Development Project and the National Transportation Planning and Research Centre had approved the project. As per the agreement, the selected company was allowed to administer the parking lot for 33 years, paying an annual fee of Rs.4.5 crore to the city Corporation. But, the project lost steam as a result of technical hiccups.
Mobility hub, a project recently conceived by the Motor Vehicle Department and submitted to the city Corporation, was designed to offer parking bays to 3,000 cars and 2,000 motorcycles at a time. Six transport terminals, connectivity to the proposed monorail, and facilities such as helipad were envisaged.
However, a section of environmentalists objected to the plan, pointing out that the construction of the hub would harm the surrounding wetland area. Their demand was to identify another spot for the proposed mobility hub. According to Regional Transport Officer Rajiv Puthalath, who proposed the project, it will hardly harm the ecosystem.
The Corporation’s laxity has come has a boon to several private players, who offer parking bays at exorbitant rates. “The problem can be settled only by purchasing the required land for parking. The Corporation should take the first step for that,” says Malabar Chamber of Commerce president Anoop Narayanan. Also, there should be a proper checking mechanism to ensure justifiable use of the available parking space, he says.
The Hindu looks at the many facets of life in Kozhikode and the myriad challenges before the port city in a week-long series.