Some of the city’s largest and busiest car parks are facing people’s anger with scenes of chaos, confusion, heated arguments and protests over newly introduced bi-hourly rates for car parking. vehicles in these parking lots.

Various employees working in markets and offices near car parks, market associations and visitors came under heavy hassle on Wednesday as monthly pass fees were also revised.

As part of the new system, the civic body introduced a bi-hourly parking charge on the lots, replacing the flat rate 20 and 10 charges taken respectively from cars and two-wheelers, for the whole day — from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

In accordance with the new contractual standards, the fee will increase by 50% of the base rate after the completion of every two hours. The base price remains unchanged.

To add to the fray, the parking contractor at Kipps Market in Sarabha Nagar hired bouncers to keep the public away, leading to more heated scenes and arguments throughout the day as visitors accused the bouncers of unruly behavior. It was also alleged that the bouncers were defrauding the public.

A Sarabha Nagar market visitor who parked her vehicle said the bouncers behaved badly to her when she confronted them with an overload.

Sarabha Nagar Market Association Chairman Wong Chio said the new contractor had hired bouncers who misbehaved with visitors after asking them to pay unreasonable fees, adding: “The contractor issues arbitrary passes and forces business owners to pay up to 5,000 for a monthly pass for their cars, the bouncers even threatened several people with damaging their vehicles,”

He said, “New parking fees and contractor’s men’s hooliganism are affecting market and business reputation.”

He alleged that city officials failed to gain confidence from the market association and other stakeholders before introducing the new policy, a charge that was denied by officials of the civic body.

Several Feroze Gandhi market employees and visitors and members of the Bharatiya Janata Party also protested the bi-hourly rates and the hike in monthly pass fees.

Employees regretted that the revised charges will put an additional burden on the pockets of more than 8,000 employees who work in the market. Pankaj Kumar, who works in an insurance company, said: “There are many workers, including pantry boys and security guards, who earn less than 8,000 a month, paying rides for free to park their two-wheelers will put a lot of pressure on them.

He said the parking lot is in a terrible state with several potholes and water collecting on the ground, and the contractor is also charging people who parked on the side of the road and in front of their offices. .

Feroze Gandhi Market Association Paramjit Singh Gill met with MC Commissioner Shena Aggarwal on Tuesday and submitted a memorandum asking the MC to resume increasing monthly pass fees for employees and owners of SCO.

MLA (Ludhiana West) Gurpreet Gogi, meanwhile, visited Sarabha Nagar and Feroze Gandhi markets in the evening and assured the protesters that the matter would be taken up with the municipal authorities during a meeting Thursday. He also summoned the entrepreneur on site at Sarabha nagar market after complaints from business owners about the unfair treatment meted out to them.

The head of MC ensures the action

MC Commissioner Shena Aggarwal said complaints about unruly behavior by the parking contractor were being investigated and they would take all necessary action against the contractor.

“The bi-hourly rates are to keep a check on the people who just pay 10 or 20 and parking their vehicle for long periods of time. For someone who normally comes to a market for a job, the time would typically be less than two hours. And the parking rates are the same for those. The new system controls the parking space and ensures its efficient implementation,” she said, adding that the increase in pass prices will be considered.