Almost a year ago, SPPU had finalised parking charges in affiliated colleges after students protested irregularities of parking on college campuses; but clearly, even premium city colleges seem to be failing to adhere to the regulations. It was also decided that a designated parking attendant be placed to care for the parked vehicles. The decision was taken following a movement by students from various city colleges protesting the rampant irregularities and the high-handedness of the attendants.

Unwilling to put up with the irregular parking charges on his college campus, Mohammad Saif, a first year law student on the Azam campus, demanded to check the contractual agreement of the men manning the college’s parking lot with the college, only to stoke the former’s ire.“Many parking lots in colleges are run by people who do not have legitimate contracts, which empowers them to charge students according to their whims. We often refuse to pay without checking the copy of their parking contract.And, when I asked the contractor to furnish necessary details, he became angry and humiliated me,“ said Saif. “I was told that they would break my bones if I continue to demand a copy of the contract. This is intolerable and we have to stand against such rude behaviour.“ He subsequently filed a non-cognizable offence against the parking contractor at Pul Gate police station, on Friday. The head of Azam campus and president of Maharashtra Cosmopolitian Education Society, P A Inamdar, however, claimed to be ignorant about such an incident having occurred, and stated, that “the college’s parking is as per the varsity guidelines“.

Saif is not the only one who has suffered at the hands of the parking lot attendants. Said Mohammad Irfan, a final year student of Masters of Computer Application (MCA), “We have two to three rounds of college between lectures. Each time we arrive at the campus, we have to get a fresh ticket. If we show the existing ticket, attendants get abusive with us. Most of us prefer to stay out of this and fall in line.“ A Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) student, who spoke on condition of anonymity, offered, “Damages such as broken mirrors and torn seats are common. Our questions are ignored. Moreover, there is also the issue of space for parking, as many non-students avail of this facility, thanks to their small favours with the parking attendants. Most of them are not even charged for this facility.“ Senior police inspector Barkat Mujawar, incharge of Lashkar (cantonment) police station under whose jurisdiction Pul Gate police falls, said as this is a matter at a private institute, “we are not empowered to take action, although we are still contemplating further course of investigation“.

After hearing out the Azam campus student, Mirror ran a fresh check on other campuses and found that not much had changed since the SPPU mandate a year ago. A second year Bachelor of Arts student from Fergusson College said, “There is no cap on the parking attendants’ rudeness. Most of them indulge in rowdyism and pass inappropriate comments at girls. There is still no uniform charge on the vehicles. If we take our vehicles out during lunch time, we are still charged the second round.“ Similar issues were raised by Abasaheb Garware College and Modern College students. “Despite the heavy charges, the attendants do not take any responsibility of the security of our properties,“ said a first year Bachelor of Science student from Modern College. A final year science student from Garware College reiterated, “We pay huge charges, but often find our bikes damaged. Also, I do not understand why parking pass has to be vehicle specific. Once I park at a designated spot, I should be allowed to park any two-wheeler.“

Dr S G Gupta, principal of Abasaheb Garware College, said, “While we are following the mandate by SPPU, students must speak up if there is a problem so that we can take action immediately.“ Gupta, however, could not recall the number of complaints the administration may have received on that score. “But, if there is a persistent problem, students can put their complaint in the complaint box so that our grievance committee can look into it,“ he added.

Professor Shamkant Deshmukh, secretary of Progressive Education Society, which runs Modern College, denied any violation of parking charges. He said, “Despite the availability of the monthly pass system, not many students opt for it as they keep changing their vehicles as changing vehicles amongst themselves is a fad with the youth. Colleges charge for parking because of the service that they are providing. Parking contract ensures safety and protection of the parked vehicle.“
Source : Pune Mirror



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