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‘Obstacles’ in way of transition

Updated September 06, 2013

LAHORE, Sept 5: The Lahore Parking Company is yet to take over 110 ‘unidentified parking lots’ allegedly being operated by a mafia in connivance with the City District Government of Lahore’s public facility wing, it is learnt.

The company is a CDGL’s subsidiary that was established in August last year under section 32 of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan to operate and regulate the city’s parking lots and solve the growing problems faced by the public.

The LPC started taking over the parking lots from the CDGL’s public facility wing after it failed to deliver to convert these into standardised parking infrastructure under one umbrella.

Officials say the LPC has so far succeeded in taking over 180 parking lots and it has yet to take possession of another 110 sites being operated by a mafia at various locations in connivance with some officials of the public facility wing.

“We have traced 70 of the 110 such sites and are trying hard to locate the remaining 50. We plan to launch a crackdown on the mafia to forcibly take over these,” an official told Dawn on the request of anonymity.

He said most ‘unidentified’ parking sites existed in the city’s southern parts like Johar Town, Faisal Town and Thokar Niaz Baig. He said the 180 sites being operated by the LPC had been notified and coded under D-01 to D-180, said the official.

He also claimed that the parking company had succeeded in increasing the revenue of parking lots from Rs60,000 to more than Rs600,000 daily.

The official said besides initiating efforts to trace the mafia-controlled sites and regulating these, the company faced operational overlapping of scores of parking lots being run by different departments including health, archaeology and the LDA.

“Despite establishment of the LPC, we are surprised why these departments/authorities continue to run various parking sites at Badshahi Mosque, Minar-i-Pakistan, Tollinton Market, Lahore Museum, Fort Road (near food street), the entire government hospitals and various spots falling under the LDA,” he said.

He said since the government’s core objective was to operate and regulate all sites, it desired to take over all of them from contractors. It planned to forward a summary to the chief minister in order to seek his executive order, directing the government departments to hand over their parking lots to the LPC.

Taking about the LPC’s plan to hand over the entire parking lots to international firms in various phases to convert these into automated mode, the official said the company had short-listed Green Park---AGCN (Advance Global Communication Networking), a German-Saudi joint venture.

“It plans to retain the parking lots for seven years during which it will also be responsible to make them automated. As per bid, it will give 45.4 per cent of the total earning to the LPC. And the LPC will only focus on monitoring and regulating the parking lots alone once the venture starts working on a Build, Operate and Transfer basis after taking over the sites in various phases,” the official elaborated.

He said after seven years, the LPC would regain control and would be at liberty to operate them. He hoped for entering into an agreement with the foreign venture by the end of this month.

As for appointment of an independent managing director of the company, the official said it would soon be able to have a competent person for the slot. “We have short-listed 10 candidates seeking appointment as MD. Their interviews will be held in the next few days,” he said.

DCO Nasim Sadiq, who also looks after the LPC affairs as vice chairman, told Dawn that the controversial sites would be taken control of sooner than later. He said the parking sites being run by the bar associations or traders on their own couldn’t be declared ‘ghost sites’ as was the perception. The LPC could regulate and monitor these sites, he added.