Parking Losses

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Private operators running different car parking lots in Srinagar ran into red due to curfews and strikes in summer. Ikhlaq Qadri reports.

In the beginning of 2010, Bashir Ahmad hoped to earn handsomely, when he won the bid to run a usually busy parking lot in Srinagar. He got the rights over the parking lot for a period of six months after paying the RS 4.05 lakh bid amount in advance to the Srinagar Development Authority (SDA).

There are around two dozen car parking lots, which are run by private entrepreneurs. However, continuous curfews and shutdowns pushed them into red.

At the end of stipulated six months, Bashir is a shattered man as he made heavy losses. He could just earn Rs 2.35 lakh. Bashir also has to pay his employees besides the bid amount and the tax of Rs 9072.

“I was expecting more than seven lakh from the deal but, unfortunately, the situation right from January made things worse,” Bashir told to Kashmir Life.

However, Bashir is still thankful to God that he was able to get half of the amount as his contract was only up to July.

“Alhamdu Lillah! At least I got something, if it would have been after July, only Allah knows what would have been my condition,” says Bashir.

The people, who had won the contracts for running parking lots, suffered huge losses as around four months of curfews and shutdowns forced people indoors. Bashir’s car parking lot had other problems also.

“Few minutes of rainfall and the whole area would be submerged,” Bashir said while detailing his woes.

This is the story of all the people who have got the parking lots through bidding. Though many successful bidders preferred not to deposit the bid amount and forfeited their CDRs (an amount needed to be deposited before bidding). The crisis which engulfed every sector of society has bruised them severely only to regret their decision of going for getting the contract.

There are around two dozen parking lots in Srinagar. These are owned by different departments, like Srinagar Development Authority, Srinagar Municipal Corporation, Horticulture and floriculture.

The parking area witness flow of people only when there is normalcy.

“This is not like any other business where you can sell goods in hours of relaxation. A day off means, day lost forever and each passing day incurs huge cost,” said Abdul Majeed, sitting near his office in parking lot.

The parking lot in the heart of city as per the officials generated revenue of around 4500 per day, which amount to be Rs 117000 per month excluding Sundays. Going by the estimates of the men on duty, a single parking lot in Lalchowk area has suffered loss of around Rs 468000 in the last four months.

People associated with car parking lots say that the two dozen parking lots in Srinagar have incurred loss of more than one crore in last four months. Major part of loss is incurred by the parties who got contract as the departments received onetime payment.

The bidding for these car parking lots starts from a reserve price and bidders have to quote an amount more than the reserve price to win the bid. The person winning the bid has to pay the quoted amount in one go in advance.

The authorities seem to be relaxed as they have received their money and the losses are solely suffered by the contractors.

“We received payment in one go and our share of loss is not that much. It is the people who got the contract, who had to bear the brunt,” said a senior officer of Srinagar Development Authority.

There are some parking lots for which CDRs have been deposited but the party never returned as the situation turned upside down.

Parking area opposite Biscoe School is this time run by the Municipal Corporation as the bidder who got the contract didn’t turn up. The minimum bid amount fixed for the parking lot was 2.35 lakh.

“Even the CDR was deposited but the concerned party didn’t deposit the whole amount for fear of incurring further losses,” said an employee of the corporation.

The ongoing agitation is into its fifth month. This is the longest ever phase of curfews, strikes and restrictions leaving every sector of economy in doldrums. The major season of work is lost to the crisis.

Trade analysts say that on every day of curfew or strike, the state’s economy loses Rs 100 crore, which amounts to around Rs 12000 crore loss during four months of unrest.

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