Land that can be used as parking lot has turned into a dump
Around two decades after shifting the old sabzi mandi opposite Hall Gate, the land has been lying vacant since. This prime land can be utilised for developing a multi-storey parking to decongest the old city area, specifically Hall Bazaar. The Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA) owns this 6.5-acre chunk of land worth crores.
The PUDA had pledged the land to Punjab Municipal Infrastructure Development Company (PMIDC) some years ago. Owing to this ownership issue, the land has been laying vacant and the Amritsar Municipal Corporation has to spend money and make efforts to remove encroachments, garbage and filth heaped on the land.
Keeping in view the close proximity of the land to the Golden Temple, the land can be used for an automated multi-storey parking lot, which can accommodate more than 5,000 vehicles. The walled city is in dire need of a spacious parking space to address traffic jams.
The old sabzi mandi site opposite the Hall Gate was de-notified in 1995 and a majority of the shops were shifted to the new vegetable market at Vallah in 2004. Yet several wholesale fruit merchants operate their shops from this location. The PUDA had taken over the possession of the sabzi mandi land in 2005.
Around two acres out of this land had been used by the PUDA for the construction of the Bus Rapid Transit project in 2015 and constructed a flyover on the chunk. Now around three and a half acres of land is lying unused and it has turned into a dumping yard. Residents of the walled city dump debris on this vacant land. Fruit and vegetable residue and garbage from nearby godowns are also dumped here. Bus operators illegally park their buses here. The civic body has to often remove such waste.
Sandeep Rishi, Commissioner, MC, said, “We can use this land as a parking lot to address the nagging issue of parking around the walled city area. I will make efforts in this direction. Moreover, we are identifying such government lands to construct and operate the parking lot on the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) mode.”