A students’ association has taken up the issue of colleges charging students for parking their vehicles on the campus as it imposes a financial burden on them. The association, Akhil Bhartiya Chhava Maratha Yuva Sangathana has demanded an end to this practice and has sought the intervention of the university in the matter.
dna visited the campuses of five reputed colleges in the city and found that students had to pay to use the parking lots at these colleges. The campuses visited by dna included Symbiosis on Senapati Bapat Road, Abashaheb Garware College on Karve Road, Fergusson College, Nowrosjee Wadia College and Ness Wadia College.
At all these campuses, the college authorities had handed over management of their parking lots to private contractors.
At Garware College, students pay for parking bicycles too, though it is as low as Rs2 per bicycle. The Symbiosis campus on Senapati Bapat Road houses five colleges and society office and has two basement parkings for two-wheelers and the charge is Rs5 per two-wheeler..
At Wadia College, students are provided a parking pass for Rs350 for six months and daily Rs5 and at Fergusson College it is Rs100 per month and daily Rs5. Sangathana president Ajit Somwanshi said they have written to University of Pune seeking its intervention. He said, “Students are already burdened with daily expenditure on petrol and other necessities. Now they are being forced to pay parking charges at colleges at Rs5 per day. This means a student has to shoulder additional burden of Rs100 to 150 per month.”
“Despite paying the charges, their vehicles are not guarded and several incidents of vehicles getting damaged on the campus are being reported. Moreover, if a vehicle gets damaged or stolen from the pay-and-park on the campus, the contractor says he is not liable to pay compensation. Every time the student leaves the campus and re-enters it, he has to pay for it,” Somwanshi added.
Parking contractor from Symbiosis campus Somnath Tikole said, “Symbiosis has awarded me the contract to run the pay-and-park on the campus. I have to give Rs1 lakh to the management as rent every month. From the remaining money, I have to pay wages of parking attendants and work out my profit.”
JR Pathare, chief administrator and incharge of human resources department of Symbiosis Society, said, “We have given out the contract of running parking lots instead of we taking care of vehicles of our students. The contractor gives us the service charge and not rent. We try to ensure that the students are charged minimum parking fees. The money that the society gets from the parking charges is used for maintenance of the campus.”
At Wadia College, the parking contractor is Avinash Salve, a former corporator from Yerawada. He said, “The pay-and-park at Wadia College is run by me and my brother Atul on no-profit-no-loss basis. From whatever parking charges are collected, we pay a part to the college and the rest goes for wages of attendants and guards. Some money goes for maintenance of parking lot. If any money remains, we use it to generate employment opportunities for needy youths.”
Principal of Abashaheb Garware College, Shrikant Gupta said, “We have given out the contract of running the pay-and-park to a private contractor. He ensures safety of vehicles parked on the campus. If a vehicle or bicycle is stolen from the campus, the contractors are liable to pay damages.”
Fergusson College principal Ravisinh Pardeshi said, “The decision to award a contract to operate the pay-and-park on the campus to a private contractor was taken by the Deccan Education Society and not the college authorities. The pay-and-park is necessary for the safety of vehicles. The money thus raised can be used for maintenance of the campus.”
Repeated attempts were made to contact University of Pune’s registrar NM Kadu and vice chancellor Vasudev Gade for their response to the issue, but their phones were switched off.
Coupons absolve the contractor of liability
dna toured the campuses of six major colleges in the city to survey the parking arrangements for students. Here is what we found:
There are three separate parking arrangements on the Wadia campus for the three institutes - Nowrosjee Wadia, Ness Wadia and Cusrow Wadia colleges. Bicycles are parked on the Cusrow Wadia campus. The students have to pay for two-wheelers at the entrance and show the coupon while leaving the campus.
At Symbiosis Society, students have to collect the coupons while entering the parking area. The attendant notes down the vehicle number on the coupon. While going out they have to show the coupon and pay Rs5. If they lose the coupon, they have to pay Rs8 as fine and Rs5 for parking. The parking is allowed from 7 am to 8.30 pm. No parking is allowed at night.
At Fergusson College, students have to collect the coupons while entering the campus and while leaving they have to pay for the parking.
At Abasaheb Garware College, not only two-wheelers and four-wheelers, but bicycles too are charged for parking. While entering the premises, the coupons have to be collected and while going out, the students have to pay the amount and return the coupons. The college claims that damage to the vehicles and cycles have to be recovered from the parking contractor. However, the coupons disclaim the contractor’s liability if the vehicles are damaged due to natural causes or stolen. The passes are valid till 6 pm.