Mrunal Manmay Dash

It has been two years since the Bhubaneswar Smart City Limited (BSCL) installed sensors at 800 parking lots on the stretch between Sishu Bhawan Square and Vani Vihar, but the ambitious smart-parking project is yet to see light of the day.

In a matter of utter dismay, the sensors which were installed at a cost of Rs 2.5 crore are gathering dust.

As per reports, the Smart City authorities launched the project in 2021 in a bid to check illegal parking, undue harassment, save time, and decongest the stretch. The central smart parking system was installed at the Integrated City Operations and Management Centre (ICOMC) and was slated to provide real-time information on a particular parking slot booked for a particular vehicle.

Such facilities are present in very few metro cities and provide a huge reprieve for commuters from a chaotic traffic experience.

BSCL had installed sensors at the parking lots which work on radiofrequency. They send vehicle parking inputs to the hand-held device of a parking agent and to the central server as well.

A software helps obtain real-time parking space occupancy or availability. Vehicle owners can pre-book a parking slot through a mobile application. In the case of on-spot parking, the agents manning the parking spaces carry point of sale (PoS) devices to charge the parking fee.

However, after two years of its installation, the residents are still not sure, if the project is actually going to launch or if the tax-payers’ money has gone down the drain. In fact, there are residents who do not have an iota of idea what a smart parking system is. They have never heard of it.

A vehicle owner said, “I have never heard of e-parking system. However, if at all it is going to happen, then the authorities should expedite the process. Because the parking woes are worsening each passing day.”

Even a parking agent, Rita Patra said, “I do not know when it is going to launch, but I have heard that this is going to happen in the future.”

Asked about the project and delay in its launch, BSCL CEO, Vijay Amrute Kulange said, “Not only on Janpath, we are going to launch it in several places in Bhubaneswar. The technical team of Smart City Limited is working on it. We will make it available soon enough.”

The 3.9-km-long stretch Sishu Bhawan Square and Vani Vihar, which boasts rows of shops, malls, hotels, and commercial establishments on one side and government quarters and residential complexes on the other has become Smart Janpath.

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