Aloysius Xavier Lopez
Search on for new contractors to maintain the parking lots
CHENNAI: A cartel formed by contractors and the lack of awareness among motorists have given rise to a crucial safety issue at parking lots near railway stations in the city.
“Three cases of vehicle thefts from parking lots near the Kodambakkam railway station have occurred this week,” said Ravi, a vendor on the Railway Border Road, near Kodambakkam railway station.
Police acknowledged that there had been thefts in the recent past. “People should be careful and avoid parking their vehicles in parking spaces without proper security arrangements,” said a police official.
A number of railway passengers park their vehicles in the two parking lots on the Railway Border Road, Kodambakkam.
“After the lapse of the contract in May, the new contract for parking lots is yet to be finalised,” said a railway official. “We have floated tenders and quotations seven times in the past five months. But the contractors are reluctant to accept the rate prescribed by us. They have formed a cartel in order to reduce the reserve price,” said an official of the Southern Railway, who did not wish to be named.
The delay in fixing of contract forced the people to park their vehicles on the road which caused traffic congestion. The traffic problem was solved after the people started parking their vehicles in the parking lots.
However, many passengers are not aware of the expiry of the contract and the threat it poses to the safety of vehicles. “People in a hurry to board the train are still parking their vehicles in the parking lot near the railway station’s entrance thinking it will be safe,” said Prakash, a passenger whose motorbike was stolen from the parking lot on Saturday.
Some private parking lots are available nearby. But many people still use the railway parking lot near the entrance of the railway station free of cost as they are not aware of the new private parking lots. Many vehicles parked in the space have been stolen. The parking lot at the Perambur railway station also faces a similar problem. An official of Southern Railway said that the contract had been fixed from November 1 for the parking lot in Perambur. The official also added that the Southern Railway will float another open quotation for the parking lot in Kodambakkam with a reduced reserve price as per the rules within ten days. “We are trying our best to fix the contract. The contractors have to be willing to accept the rate fixed by the finance department according to rules,” said an official.