- Vying for handsome revenue, parking sharks write anonymous letters to Temple Committee
- Bring pressure from netas to handover parking lot maintenance to private contractors
By M.T. Yogesh Kumar
Mysore/Mysuru: The Chamundi Hill multi-level parking facility has caught the attention of parking sharks as they can make a killing by charging whimsical amounts as lots of people visit the Hill Temple every other day and the number of visitors double and treble during weekends.
Within a week of the multi-level parking lot atop the Hill opening for public, the parking tender lobby seems to have become hyperactive and has been bombarding anonymous petitions to Sri Chamundeshwari Temple Management Committee. The parking lot is being managed by the Temple Committee instead of handing it over to private parties.
These letters are raising objections to the fee fixed for parking or the way the parking lot is managed. The letters claim that the Temple Committee was not managing the system properly and a private parking contractor can do a better job.
The parking facility was launched on Nov. 26 with a view to streamline traffic flow atop the Hill. On recommendation of the Temple Committee, Deputy Commissioner Rohini Sindhuri issued orders fixing Rs. 10 for two-wheeler, Rs. 40 for four-wheeler, Rs. 60 for minibus and Rs. 100 for bus.
The system ran smoothly till now but of late, anonymous letters are being written to the Temple Committee asking it to reconsider the parking rates and also handover the parking system to a private contractor for better management.
Open to public on Nov. 26
Over Rs.79.9 crore was spent from the Temple funds to construct the multi-level parking and 116 shops. The works were allotted to Public Works Department and it began in November 2016 but completed a few months back as against the March 2017 deadline. The system was thrown open to the public on Nov. 26.
On an average, the daily collection from parking is over Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 60,000. The parking fee had been fixed after the Temple authorities studied the fee pattern followed in temples of Nanjangud, Kollur Mookambika, Male Mahadeshwara Hills and Yediyur Siddalingeshwara.
Keeping an eye on profits
The daily handsome income has grabbed the attention of parking lobbies. They know very well that if the daily collection stands at Rs.50,000 to Rs.60,000 now amidst COVID-19 pandemic, the daily collection will cross lakhs of rupees during weekends, festivals, Dasara and Ashada Shukravara when the number of daily visitors cross the 25,000 mark.
This is precisely why anony-mous letters are being written to the Temple Management in order to form a public opinion so that the parking system is handed over to private contractors. The Temple Management usually forwards genuine complaints about the facilities, pricing and other aspects of the Hill Temple to the Deputy Commissioner who has the final say in the matter. If the complaints or letters are genuine, the DC is likely to consider the demand.
Hen that lays golden eggs
By writing anonymous letters, the lobby wants to grab the parking contract by hook or crook. Temple sources told Star of Mysore that the lobbies are from Mysuru and Bengaluru. “It is a hen that lays golden eggs. So the lobbies want to rake in income that is regular and amass huge profits,” sources added.
Some of the lobbyists are also trying to bring pressure from politicians and Ministers asking the Temple Management to hand over the parking lot to private contractors and call for a tender. Tender enables bidding so that one of the lobbyists can bag the contract. For this, they are either alleging that the present parking rates are exorbitant or there is mismanagement by the Temple authorities.
Transparency in ticket
At present, the parking lot is open from 6.30 am till 9.30 pm. Six parking staff and security personnel in each shift manage the parking lot in two shifts. Parking tickets are issued in electronic slips with date, time and vehicle number. As such, there is transparency and no chance of misappropriation. The ticket counter, entry and exit of the parking lot have CCTV cameras.
‘Revise parking fee’
Meanwhile, M.S. Gururaja Shetty, a resident of Devaraja Mohalla, told SOM that the District Administration has to revisit parking fee structure as it was expensive. Most of the Mysureans visit the Hill every Tuesday and Friday to pay obeisance to Goddess Chamundeshwari.
For them, the parking fee of Rs. 40 for a car is exorbitant. Besides, thousands of people flock tourist places in different types of vehicles and they need to shell out a lot of money on parking at Palace, Zoo, KRS and other places. In the interest of everyone, it is advisable for the authorities to reconsider it, he added.
One of the complainants mentioned in the letter that he was charged Rs. 40 for his car and the parking attendants gave him a parking ticket for Rs. 10, thereby pocketing Rs. 30. As he had mentioned his vehicle number, the Temple authorities checked CCTV cameras where it was found that the complainant had actually come to the Temple in a two-wheeler.
Features of multi-level parking
• It can accommodate 1,200 cars
• Total area is 8 km
• Total built-up area is 31,000 sq. meters
• Construction Agency – PWD
• Total cost Rs.79.9 crore