No lights, no roof, no staff at parking lot on old jail premises in Puducherry

The parking lot on the old jail premises has not attracted many users due to its lack of amenities
| Photo Credit: KUMAR SS

Nearly a year after the Puducherry Municipality awarded a paid parking contract on the old jail premises on the arterial Jawaharlal Nehru Street, to address parking woes in the city, the facility has few takers.

The parking lot is suffering from inadequate parking space and unhygienic surroundings, users say. Lack of lights in the night, lack of staff, and no roof are some of the complaints listed by vehicle owners. The condition of the lot has remain unchanged over the past past one year with no action being taken, rue the users.

Realising the need to de-congest ever-increasing vehicular traffic, a proposal was put forth way back in 2007 to demolish the 35,000 square-foot complex and convert it into a multi-level car and two-wheeler parking facility.

After the old jail complex was demolished, the Puducherry Municipality initially introduced free parking for two-wheelers in the premises. In March 2022, the Municipality awarded a parking contract to a person selected through an e-tender.

According to Sundar, a resident of Thattanchavady, “The practice of awarding paid parking contracts without fixing any responsibility on the contractor to ensure basic amenities shows a lack of transparency in the government. People using cars are forced to park in the open, resulting in damage to vehicles. The local body failed to ensure that the contractor provided covered parking.”

S. Nadarajan, another resident, said: “During the monsoon, the parking space is filled with slush and motorists find it difficult to park their vehicles or take them out of the premises. There has been no proper planning or a practical approach on the part of the authorities, and the purpose for which the site has been utilised has been defeated.”

A municipal official claimed that the facility was only a temporary arrangement with minimum facilities to ensure revenue to the cash-starved local body. The proposal for multi-level parking has also been facing delays due to various reasons, he said. The government has now planned to take up multi-level parking under the Smart City project, he said.

Another official acknowledged the problem of poor amenities in the parking lot and said the government was trying to work out a solution.

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