• Crackdown planned after SHC asked govt to stop the menace causing traffic congestion on roads
• LG bodies asked to advertise in newspapers names of places where parking fee is chargeable
KARACHI: The Sindh government on Saturday finally decided to launch a ‘massive’ crackdown on ‘extortion’ mafia working in the name of charged parking and asked the municipal and development bodies to stop the activity immediately and approach police for registration of FIRs against those involved in illegal parking fee collection.
The decision was taken following a recent order issued by a two-member bench of the Sindh High Court that had directed the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation, Karachi Development Authority and the district municipal corporation to end illegal charged parking spots in the city to ensure smooth flow of traffic on roads and streets.
The charged parking spots sprang up on roads, footpaths, and other public and private places across the city leading to traffic congestions.
Official sources said that the local government department had directed that all illegal parking places established in the boundaries of all towns should be stopped immediately.
They said that at a meeting on Saturday the local government secretary directed the civic agencies concerned to take strict action against the patrons and facilitators of the parking mafia who was fleecing people in the name of charged parking.
The sources said that the civic bodies concerned were also directed to keep traffic police and district administration on board during the crackdown on the parking mafia.
They said that the LG secretary had also directed registration of FIRs against the operators involved in illegal parking fee collection.
The sources said that the officials concerned had been directed to ensure that all parking points should be marked with names of contractors, pin numbers and timings.
They said that the LG department ordered that the specific colours should be used to define new parking lots, parking zones and footpaths.
The sources said that the KMC was allowed to collect parking fees on 41 roads and service roads under the Sindh Local Government Ac for maintenance of roads.
While hearing a set of petitions against the illegal charged parking in different parts of the city, the SHC on Dec 5 directed the KMC, KDA and all DMCs to initiate legal action, including lodging FIRs, against all unauthorised persons who were involved in illegal charging and collection of parking fee.
The SHC will take up the matter again on Dec 13 and the DIG traffic, local government secretary, KMC director of charged parking and KDA chief engineer were ordered to be in attendance to assist the court.
The court had also observed in its order that it appeared that no specific signs or boards were on display on any of the roads to show who was charging parking fee.
The city traffic police chief had submitted before the bench that frequent crackdowns had been carried out on people charging and collecting parking fee without authorisation and illegally, but such illegal activity recurred after every crackdown.
The bench ordered the KMC, KDA and DMCs to submit a definite and foolproof plan on the next date of hearing to implement and regulate a proper system for charging parking fee, including but not limited to, identifying such roads/places by installing proper signs/boards or by highlighting the borders of such roads/places with different colours, so that the vehicle/ drivers should be aware of the road/places where they have to pay parking fee.
“KMC, KDA and all DMC shall publish specific public notices within one week from today in all leading Urdu, Sindh, Gujrati and English newspapers having large circulation in Karachi notifying the roads and places within their respective jurisdiction where parking fee is chargeable,” the SHC order said.
Published in Dawn, December 10th, 2023