Kolkata: Constables will be posted at the parking lots during peak hours outside Covid hospitals in south Kolkata after Lakshmi Puja. The decision was taken after several complaints of extortion during the Puja poured in from the family members of patients.
The police action started following a a Twitter post by a senior advocate from Dhanbad who had come to a private hospital, adjacent to Dhakuria bridge at Panchanantala near Golpark, on Ashtami to attend to his father undergoing treatment there. Several Covid patients are admitted in the hospital. Cops said some locals had tried to extort money from him, having used Durga Puja as an excuse.
“I came To Kolkata for my father’s operation on October 24 at the hospital in Dhakuria. I had parked my car beside emergency, for which a person (who introduced himself as Chotu) and his goons were demanding more money for my car parking,” he tweeted. The advocate also attached a video and screenshots as evidence, stating that he had even informed Kolkata Police that he was bringing in his 70-year-old father for treatment to Kolkata from Jharkhand so that he did not face any trouble on the way.
The Kolkata Police tweeted back, saying legal action has been taken. “Thanks for the input. Necessary legal action has been taken based on your complaint,” the tweet read.
Even after the police assurance, a couple of netizens demanded that cops take more concrete measures to prevent the menace. Thereafter, the decision was taken that the traffic guard would post a constable to ensure that none will face such problem further because of parking mafias.
“During the festive season, a few unscrupulous persons try to earn extra money. Several corrective steps had been taken during the pre-puja marketing season. However, we will keep an eye to ensure that no parking mafia can take any advantage to extort money in this Covid season,” said an officer.
Cops already started the clean-up exercises at government hospitals last year. Sources said a section of ambulance and auto operators are also trying to control the parking areas around hospitals. “We are collecting local inputs and these will be shared with KMC officials. Cops, though, refused to confirm whether some of the hospital administration officials have complained against such parking extortion.
A similar complaint had come from the doctors of a Salt Lake hospital a couple of months ago. However, it was sorted out soon with the help of senior and administrative officials from the hospital.