November 2, 2016
Fleecing at the parking lot at the Coimbatore railway station has been an order of the day. Any number of complaints by the aggrieved who have been harassed by the contractors demanding more than the stipulated fee, has fallen into deaf ears.
When the issue was taken up to the officials by the Covai Post, the authorities at the Salem Division expressed their helplessness stating that the contract at the lot on Good Shed road had ended last month but the contractor had obtained a stay from the Court against termination of his contract and floating fresh tenders.
The issue surfaced yet again on Tuesday when a video of a contractor haggling with a common man went viral on social media. The rude contractor was seen saying that the parking lot user was indulging in “unwanted activity” by recording their conversation.
He also refused to reveal the exact parking fee that is to be charged.
According to a senior official from the Salem Division of the Southern Railways, the contract for the parking lot was given to a Sabar Ali around three years ago. The total value of the contract was Rs. 86 lakh per year.
However, ten days before the contract period could end which expired on 18.09.2016, the contractor had approached the Principal District Munsif Court, Coimbatore and obtained a stay order.
“We are approaching the Court requesting them to terminate the contract, but the process is getting delayed. Since the matter is in court, we are not in a position to do anything,” the official said.
The official further alleged that knowing that the Railway officials are unable to do anything about it; the contractor has been taking advantage of the situation and fleecing the public.
The fee for parking at the parking lot according the contract is Rs. 10 for two hours, Rs. 15 for 2-4 hours for four wheelers and Rs. 30 for two hours; and Rs. 50 for 2-4 hours.
The charge is Rs. 5 for two hours, Rs. 6 for 2-4 hours for two wheelers. However, according to commuters, the contractor was charging Rs. 10 as the base amount for two wheelers and Rs. 20 for four wheelers including cars and this could go up depending on the time the vehicle exits.
Sources also claimed that the contractor has been fined on numerous occasions for collecting excess fee.