Come Dasara, Town Hall Parking Lot Thrown Open
- Additional ramp being built; project cost escalates from Rs. 10.86 crore to Rs. 23.28 crore
Mysore/Mysuru: The Town Hall parking facility in the heart of the city is turning out to be Hamlet’s Ghost of our time as it is only during Dasara that the people in power think of the parking facility as Hamlet’s Ghost says, “Remember Me”. The issue, however, is conveniently forgotten during other months. And this drama is being enacted since 2018.
Dasara 2022 will be inaugurated on Sept. 26 and with just over 40 days for the Nada Habba to begin, the much-touted Town Hall Multi-Level Parking Facility will not be completed for sure. As ad-hoc arrangements that are being followed since 2018, the ambitious parking facility will be open temporarily for this Dasara and will be shut down later till the works are completed.
The works of the parking lot began way back in 2011 and only 80 percent of the works are complete now and the Mysuru City Corporation (MCC) has invited a fresh tender of Rs. 5 crore to complete the 20 percent of the pending works.
Conceptualisation in 2011
Due to the inordinate delay, the costs of completing the project have escalated. When the project was conceived in 2011, the estimated budget was Rs. 10.86 crore and Chhabra Associates of Secunderabad was given the contract. Later, due to the demands by the contractor and due to increased material costs and a change in the design, the contractor was awarded Rs. 18.28 crore tender.
The project was to be completed by April 2012 but due to differences of opinion, the contractor abandoned the project and was later blacklisted. Thanks to the utter disregard by elected representatives and officials, the project has dragged on till now and the MCC has called for fresh tenders for Rs. 5 crore — in February-March this year — taking the total project cost to a whopping Rs. 23.28 crore.
The contract has been handed over to Chandrashekhar, a local contractor, who has been given a deadline of Dec. 22, 2022. If it does not rain in August-September, the contractor has assured that the project will be completed on time.
Among the pending works for which the fresh tender has been called, there is plastering work to be done, one additional ramp is being built for both two-wheelers and four-wheelers to get down to the respective parking levels, flooring, waterproofing and finishing of the entire structure. A major part of the work is to prevent waterlogging during rains. A sump and a drain have to be constructed to drain off the rainwater.
The Multi-Level Parking Facility extends up to 6,000 sq.ft and as per the new estimates, 400 cars and 200 two-wheelers can be parked here. When the project was conceived, the MCC had announced that 600 cars and 200 two-wheelers could be parked. The number has shrunk due to the design changes.
Yesterday, Chamaraja MLA L. Nagendra inspected the Town Hall parking facility and took objection to the snail’s pace of the pending works. A visibly upset MLA asked MCC engineers and the contractor to complete the works before Dasara. MCC Commissioner G. Lakshmikantha Reddy, Corporator M.D. Nagaraj, MCC Dy. Commissioner Mahesh, Zonal Assistant Commissioner Manjunath, Engineer Kavitha and others were present.
Parking problem to aggravate for tourists this Dasara
This year, as the State Government has decided to celebrate Dasara in a grand manner, tourists will throng Mysuru and parking, especially in the Central Business District will be in great demand. With only a temporary parking facility in the Town Hall premises, tourists will be severely inconvenienced.
Usually, the main Dasara events are held at Palace (illumination and cultural programmes), Kuppanna Park (flower show), Open Street Festival (Krishnaraja Boulevard), Yuva Dasara (Maharaja’s College Grounds) and Aahara Mela (Scouts and Guides Grounds). Thousands of visitors come to these venues and parking vehicles is a herculean task and a nightmarish experience.
Also, many visitors shy away from coming to these programmes as they do not get a sufficient and suitable place to park their vehicles. The Town Hall parking facility is convenient as the location is in the heart of the city and is just a stone’s throw away distance to Mysore Palace, Kuppanna Park, Dasara Exhibition Grounds and the surrounding venues.