LAHORE: The government on Saturday gave four-month time to the Lahore Parking Company –city’s premier parking agency registered under “Lepark” name – to improve its performance or be ready for closure.
“We are giving you four months to improve performance of the LPC. If you will fail to do so, we will have no option but to close it,” Punjab Local Government & Community Development Department Minister Mian Mahmoodur Rasheed warned the officials at a meeting held here to review the performance of the company.
An official source told Dawn that the senior officers had a plan to close the company with immediate effect and outsource the parking lots, which meant revival of the old thekedari (contractor) system being run by the City District Government of Lahore’s Public Facility Wing. The system had failed owing to increasing incidents of misbehaviour of contractors and their staff with the motorists.
“They (the senior officials) came to the meeting with their plan to get nod of the minister and take a final decision to close operations of the company and then outsource the entire parking lots. But the LPC officials opposed them. When a senior official told the minister that the LPC didn’t earn revenue and shared it with the government (CDGL), the company officials negated his claim, stating that Rs520 million were given to the government as its share in the total net profit since the establishment of the company around nine to 10 years ago,” an official source quoted an LPC officer as having said.
“Eventually, those desirous of shutting the company had no argument when revenue details were shared by the officers concerned,” the official added. He said the minister gave four-month period to the LPC officials to improve performance till March 2023.
Meanwhile, the minister while presiding over the meeting, which was attended by Secretary (Local Government) Syed Mubasher Hussain, Commissioner (Lahore Division) Aamir Jan, LPC officers and others, reviewed performance and outsourcing issues. He directed the authorities to take measures to increase revenue of the company by ending alleged political interference in its affairs and illegal occupation of the mafia on parking sites.
The LG secretary said initially there was a plan to outsource 10 parking sites and if the experiment would be successful, more sites would be outsourced. He said the auction process of the sites should be made transparent so that the government got maximum revenue with provision of quality parking facilities to the people.
The commissioner assured the participants that all possible assistance would be provided to end the illegal possession of the 22 parking lots of the company.
LPC chairman Abid Mir drew the attention of the participants to the fact that the Metropolitan Corporation staff created unnecessary obstacles for the parking company. “We have also less support from police against the squatting mafia and illegal elements. It is the main hurdle in improving performance of the company,” he added.
He assured the participants that the minister’s directives would be fully implemented to make the company a profitable enterprise.
Earlier, the LPC CEO briefed the participants, stating that it had notified 244 parking sites in the city and 170 had been made functional. He said 22 sites were under illegal occupation. Thirteen posts of key staff were vacant for long, he added.
The LPC management in recent months uncovered financial theft in parking charge collection at some parking lots. It also claimed to have increased revenue by unearthing corruption and dismissing services of three inspectors at the 65 parking lots generating no revenue.
The LPC, which was established in 2011 with the objective of updating the city’s parking lots to promote motorists’ safety and respect, control parking charge collection, construct parking plazas in high-traffic areas, and prevent traffic congestion, has a plan to automate its five parking lots -- Liberty, Ittefaq Hospital, Moon and Karim block markets (Allama Iqbal Town) and Hafeez Center.
Under phase-2, the modernisation of the Children’s Hospital, Ichhra, HKB on Noor Jahan Road, Sheikh Zayed Hospital, Mayo Hospital, Services Hospital, Old Secretariat, Doongi Ground and Ganda Nala at Bhaati gate would be carried out. The sites after automation would have electronic ticketing, electronic barriers, marked parking bays, CCTV cameras at entry/exit points, staff equipped with devices to check vehicles, digital advertisements, car wash stations, rotary parking, and digital metre parking with swipe cards at entry points.
Published in Dawn, November 27th, 2022