It costs Rs 500 to park your car at Lavasa

Lavasa has hiked parking charges to Rs 500 per car, which, visitors say, is daylight robbery

Parking space is at a premium in Pune city, but now parking has become a problem even at the popular tourist destinations around Pune. Visitors to Lavasa lake city have been shelling out more money since the parking charges have been hiked since September 8. Lavasa parking charges range from Rs 200 for two-wheelers, to Rs 500 for four-wheelers and Rs 1000 for heavy vehicles. Though Lavasa officials said that the parking charges will be compensated for with food or other amenities, visitors say that no such compensation is provided.

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Lavasa, 65 km from Pune, is a private, planned city built by the Hindustan Construction Company (HCC). The sprawling township is spread across the seven hills of Mose valley. Being within close reach of Pune and Mumbai, and with Varasgaon lake as a major attraction, Lavasa is a most popular tourist destination. Naturally, it is thronged by tourists from Pune and Mumbai on weekends and holidays, and there is an equally large number of vehicles that need parking space. Swati Chaudhari is a regular visitor at Lavasa. She had gone for lunch to Ekaant Resort with her family recently, and was shocked at the exorbitant Rs 1000 she had to pay as parking charges for two cars.

“We had gone for lunch to the restaurant. They charged us Rs 1000 for two cars. I don’t know on what basis they calculate the parking charges, but Rs 500 per car is daylight robbery. They collect the parking charges at the gate and give receipts, but the vehicles are parked at owners’ risk. The Lavasa authorities don’t provide any compensation for the parking charges on food bills at the restaurant, or for the other facilities. The amount they charge is unethical,” she said. Tourist Kishori Rawal said, “The Lavasa administration has started siphoning money from tourist under the name of parking charges. If people argue with the security people at Lavasa about the high parking charges, they are downright rude and tell us to pay or leave. Visitors have no option but to pay the exorbitant parking charges.”

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“It’s a clear case of extortion in the name of parking,” said Onkar Deshpande, a resident of Pune and regular visitor to Lavasa. “Malls, airports and shopping centres which offer more facilities, charge Rs 50 to Rs 100 for parking. So why are we forced to pay Rs 500 per car at Lavasa? The parking charges are more than what I spend on fuel going to Lavasa. This is ridiculous,” he said.

The Lavasa administration said, “It’s a management decision taken after considering all the aspects of the city. What visitors spend as parking charges will be compensated towards other expenditure made by them on food and other utilities available here. The money generated from this will be used for other development and maintenance of facilities and infrastructure at Lavasa.”

Asked if the exorbitant parking charges were meant to keep unwanted visitors away, the Lavasa said, “The decision is not meant to keep away any visitors, but to generate money for development and maintenance purposes.”

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Originally published on The Golden Sparrow

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