Guwahati Today

Of parking lots and shops in residential areas

Shops being sprung up in residential areas in the city are another unwelcome practice which, if not nipped in the bud, may raise its ugly head sometime in the future.

By our Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, June 29: Problems thy me is Guwahati! One would like to describe Guwahati this way if one wants to go Shakespearean way. Among the whole lot of problems afflicting the city life, today this daily would like to focus on the problem of parking on the Guwahati-Shillong Road, popularly called as GS Road, in the city.

The ground situation on GS Road in the city is that around 80 per cent of the business establishments in this road do not have parking facilities in accordance with the parking norms. And the Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) is very much aware of it. The civic body, however, stops short of taking action as in the event of taking action against the erring business establishments around 80 per cent of the shops will have to down their shutters. Lack of parking lots in the city leads to traffic congestion from 9 in the morning to 9 in the evening.

One of the reasons behind the lack of adequate parking facilities in most of the business establishments in the city is – initially most of the shops had only ground floor when parking was not a problem in those days. However, with the increase in population and the volume of business in the city, those business establishments started to raise their buildings with the construction of first floor, second floor, third floor and the like. However, while doing so, they gave scant regard to parking facilities. This problem is quite visible in the city, especially from Super Market to Ulubari flyover on the GS Road.

These are matters that have to be seen by the GMC. How come the civic body gives trading license to such business establishments that have no parking places of their own? Issues like area of a business plots, their parking facilities and a lot of other aspects are taken into consideration while issuing trading license. The situation smacks of the fact there had been serious short shrift in issuing trade license by the GMC.

A top GMC official admitted unofficially that there had been short shrift in the issuance of trading license in the past four/five years by the civic body. “Things were done the way which it should not have. If we go to implement the parking norms now, around 80 per cent of the shops will have to down their shutters, leading to a ruckus,” the GMC official said.

The official, however, said: “We are left with an option. The civic body can enforce the business establishments to use their ground floors as parking lots. However, it won’t be a cakewalk for the GMC as legal hurdles will keep coming before it from day one.”

Of course, there are some business establishments in the city that have parking facilities. However, the passages of vehicles to such establishments are very small, and that lead vehicle users to park their vehicles on the road where they feel like safe for them. In such cases, it is the civic sense on the part of vehicular users that can ease the situation to an extent.

This apart, a new development that is growing very fast in the city is small-time shops being sprung up at places where they are not allowed. When some families have open spaces in front of its houses, they, as often as not, erect a few structures and run shops there or give them on rents to others to do business. When shops or other business centres come up in such areas, vehicles use to go to such places where there are no facilities for parking. How come such residential areas can be used for commercial purposes? If the owners of such families want to do commercial activities in their residential places, they have to declare their entire plot of land as commercial one and pay taxes etc., as are the case of commercial places. This is another unwelcome practice which, if not checked now, can take a dangerous shape as is the problem of parking lots is now.