Parking proves costly for Brigade Road traders

Last Updated 28 October 2013, 19:49 IST

The Brigade Road Shops’ and Establishments’ Association (BSEA) has been losing Rs 25,000 every month on the automated parking meters installed on the showpiece stretch. It is, however, wary about renegotiating the contract with the BBMP as it fears the “parking mafia” will outbid it during re-tendering.

BSEA President Suhail Yusuff told Deccan Herald that about Rs 3.3 lakh was needed to maintain and run the parking system every month, but the monthly collection is just around Rs 3.05 lakh.

“The remaining Rs 25,000 we pay from our pockets. We have to give Rs 2.25 lakh to the BBMP as per an agreement. We use the remaining money for maintenance and running of the parking systems,” he explained. “Since there is no other source of income—from parking fee or from the BBMP—and since we bear the shortfall, it is a loss to the association.”

Why can’t the BSEA re-negotiate the contract with the BBMP? Yusuff fears re-tendering may bring back the parking mafia which follows a modus operandi to take control of parking.

High bid

Once the BBMP re-tenders the entire parking for Brigade Road, the parking mafia makes a high bid—it will give high revenue to the Palike.

This has happened in the past when the “mafia” offered Rs 3.39 lakh per month whereas the association could offer Rs 1.75 lakh in a tender issued by the BBMP after the end of the latter’s Build, Operate, Transfer (BOT) agreement with the Palike in 2009.

The association, however, wondered how the bidder could offer Rs 3.39 lakh when the revenue was Rs 3.05 lakh? But the BBMP agreed to the “higher” bid by the “mafia” which said it would pay the BBMP Rs 3.39 lakh. It paid the Palike for two months as agreed upon, but in the third month, it said it could not pay as Brigade Road shopkeepers would park their vehicles and they even assaulted the parking agents.
The “mafia”, Yusuff went on, even told the City Civil Court the same thing. The BBMP then agreed to a lower amount, though the previous contractor allegedly owed Rs 22 lakh to the City Civil Court.

The association is anxious to control parking on Brigade Road as it wants traffic and law and order to be maintained properly and the stretch free of thefts, robberies and assaults. All this, shopkeepers say, are well managed by the 25-member security team deployed on the road.

If a private party controls parking on Brigade Road, the association claims, the focus would be on making profit and less on managing law and order. Unscrupulous people, it says further, may get entry, dole out favours and the association would lose control on the people who come to the area. But if parking is in the association’s hands, customers are guaranteed parking slots as well as good behaviour by the security personnel. This eventually increases footfalls to the shops, Yusuff added.

To precisely retain this positive ambience, the association had approached the then BBMP Commissioner, B L Meena, seeking his intervention to stop the re-tendering, and sought to take over the parking management.

The former BBMP boss, Yusuff claimed, bargained with the association, saying there were people who were giving higher revenue and why can’t the association do the same? Under pressure, the association agreed to share 75 per cent of the revenue with the BBMP, overturning the pre-2009 50:50 agreement.

New agreement

The new agreement required the association to pay Rs 2.25 lakh of the Rs 3.05 lakh revenue generated.

When Deccan Herald asked the BBMP why the terms of the contract cannot be changed to cover the losses, a senior official said the association would have to submit a proposal.

“There is no other way. They can approach the BBMP commissioner straight or the finance and taxation committee to which they can suggest a higher parking fee or a higher share in the existing revenue.”

(Published 28 October 2013, 19:49 IST)

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