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Cop sign fails to curb violation

Airport parking privilege for VIP/government cars

By Snehal Sengupta in Calcutta

  • Published 30.03.19, 4:45 AM
  • Updated 30.03.19, 4:45 AM
One of the ‘No Parking’ signs put up by police in front of the airport terminal on Friday
One of the ‘No Parking’ signs put up by police in front of the airport terminal on Friday A Telegraph picture

The police have put up “No Parking” signs on the airport premises but violation of parking rules in front of the terminal by VIP/government vehicles continues unabated.

The portable boards have been placed by the police after every 25m on the road in front of the terminal building at the arrival level.

Till the police signage came up, the only boards in the airport compound announcing the parking rules were the ones set up by the airport authorities.

Vehicles are allowed free parking in front of the terminal, at both arrival and departure level, for 10 minutes. Those exceeding the 10-minute window are fined Rs 400.

The Telegraph has repeatedly reported that VIP/ government vehicles remain parked in front of the terminal for more than 10 minutes — at times even for more than an hour — without being fined. The relaxation, however, is not granted to other vehicles.

On Friday afternoon, a white sedan with “Government of Nagaland” written on the boot pulled in and was parked a few feet from one of the signboards put up by the police.

The driver turned off the ignition, locked the car and walked away. The car was driven away after more than 30 minutes but no marshal fined it.

Marshals are deployed by a private agency hired by the airport authorities to manage parking.

Government vehicles were parked in front of the terminal for more than 10 minutes, the free-parking duration, on Friday
Government vehicles were parked in front of the terminal for more than 10 minutes, the free-parking duration, on Friday A Telegraph picture

The privilege was granted to almost all vehicles belonging to various governments throughout the day, making a mockery of the parking rules and the “No Parking” boards.

Some of the cars had boards attached to the windshields that suggested those were ferrying government officials or MLAs.

In contrast, vehicles that arrived to pick up “non-VIP citizens” were shooed away by marshals on expiry of the free parking period.

A resident of Alipore who arrived in the city on a morning flight on Friday said it was sad that the high and mighty were allowed to flout rules. “Whenever we come to the airport we make sure that no rule is violated. Why should rules be enforced selectively? Why aren’t government and VIP vehicles being fined?” asked Ashish Sandhu.

A parking marshal said they did not dare approach such cars for fear of reprisal. An officer of the Bidhannagar commissionerate gave the same reason for inaction. “The cars ferry senior government officials, MPs and MLAs. Junior officers and constables stay away from them,” he said.

This newspaper on Friday reported that followers of a religious guru parked their vehicles in front of the terminal for more than half an hour on Thursday. On being challenged by a marshal, they produced slips that were purportedly signed by a police officer “authorising” them to park in front of the terminal.

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