Monday, October 05, 2020

Calcutta airport parking culture survives Covid

Dum Dum: The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way passengers travel on flights but an old problem at the Calcutta airport — kerbside parking of VIP cars in front of the terminal — continues like before.

On Sunday, Metro saw many VIP cars parked in front of the terminal for more than an hour. During the period, two parking attendants were seen slapping a fine on a private vehicle for standing in front of the terminal for 12 minutes, two minutes more than the stipulated 10 minutes.

An airport official said cars were allowed a “dwell time” of three minutes, which refers to how long a vehicle can remain in front of the terminal building without paying any fine, and a “running time” of seven minutes, which denotes the time taken to travel to and from the terminal.

The official, however, said only the total time a car spent on the airport premises was taken into account as there was no mechanism to ascertain the “dwell time” and the “running time” of a vehicle separately.

Vehicles are allowed to stay on the airport premises for 10 minutes. If any car stays for a longer period, marshals deployed by a private agency that runs the airport’s parking lot are to collect a fine of Rs 400 from the driver.

Metro on Sunday spotted a number of vehicles — some fitted with beacons and others had boards fixed on their windshields announcing that they belonged to the government — parked in front of the terminal for around 40 minutes or more.

For as long as Metro was at the airport, there were no marshals to collect the fine and no cops to shoo away the VIP vehicles parked for long durations. A number of such vehicles stayed put in front of the terminal for around more than one-and-a-half hours.

However, Patuli resident Tanmoy Bose, 52, who had gone to the airport to drop off his son was asked to cough up a fine of Rs 400 as his car had exceeded the time limit. A couple of parking attendants in front of the terminal building’s departure level fined him. Bose alleged the attendants had not issued him any warning.

05/10/20 Snehal Sengupta/Telegraph

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