Shortage of parking space in Shimla city is not only haunting common people but also the administration. Lack of vision and untimely policy framing has led to a sort of crisis in the city. The result is, obviously, wrong parking on roadsides, which further translates into nuisance and long traffic jams. The school bus accident in Janjheri, Shimla on July 1, 2019, that had killed two school children and the driver, further highlighted how fatal wrong parking could be. Since then, the administration and traffic police are compelled to show strictness against roadside parking.
However, the VIPs including MLAs, Ministers, Bureaucrats, and other government vehicles are least affected because they enjoy undue privileges of violating all these rules. They can park their vehicles anywhere they want. Despite HP government’s promises to eradicate VIP culture, pictures with complaints of unlawful entry on restrict and sealed roads keep making rounds on social media. For instance, a picture showing two vehicles parked inside the Indira Gandhi Sports Complex at Shimla Mall Road – a sealed area for all vehicles except for the emergency vehicles, Governor and the President of India- has been going viral since yesterday. The people are asking how these vehicles drove through the sealed road and parked them inside the Complex premises where there is no provision of parking.
Well, no wonder the car belongs to an MLA and other is a government vehicle. Common people, who are feeling harassed due to lack of adequate parking space are feeling suffocated on seeing such photos. There are a number of such pictures displaying patronage to VIP culture and discrimination with the common people on social media. A couple of days ago, another such viral post appeared on social media showing the car of a higher government official ideally parked right in front of the emergency ward of Indira Gandhi Medical College. It’s pertinent to mention that Shimla MC has not provided people with any designated parking at IGMC and commoners are hurled away by police quickly.
Then, there is another recent post showing a car of a police official breaking traffic queue and obstructing the lane of an HRTC bus.
People are questioning if the law is equal for all, then how and why government and VIP vehicles are enjoying privilege. While challans are issued to commoners for parking their cars on roadsides, the so-called VIPs do not attract any action despite parking on sealed and restricted roads.
VIP culture isn’t just contained to parking and entry on sealed and restricted roads. They also lead in breaking long traffic queues and causing traffic woes. Still they never face any deterrence from either the district administration or police.
This is not only a matter of unlawfulness but also the lack of civic sense. The government and the elected representatives are ought to set good examples so that common people are encouraged to follow their lead. However, the case is exactly opposite here, and the government is no way near curbing the VIP culture. The government might have restricted use of beacons, but stickers of government and MLAs have taken their place.