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Featured Image: A file photo of Kolkata airport terminal. 

By A Newsman

Kolkata, 08 September: FOLLOWING an agitation by cab drivers on Tuesday, the Kolkata airport management has decided to wave off the parking charge for commercial vehicles up to 10 minutes when they enter the airport to drop or pick up a passenger.

At present, only private vehicles get this relaxation ever since the NSC Bose International Airport management hiked the parking fee and revised the parking rules on 16 June this year.

“We have decided to extend the 10 minutes free parking to commercial vehicles as well and are forwarding the matter to the Airports Authority of India headquarters in Delhi. The relaxation will come into effect as soon as the headquarters notifies the change,” said Kolkata airport’s general manager (operations) Ram Gopal. NSC Bose Airport is a state-owned facility run by the Airports Authority of India.

The development came after a group of around 50 cab drivers blocked the approach road to the airport terminal near the parking fee collection booth from around 6.30 on Tuesday morning. They neither allowed any vehicle to enter or exit from the airport premises.

The blockade that continued for over an hour forced several flyers arriving by morning flights to walk out of the terminal dragging their luggage for about 300 metres before they could board a cab or a coach. Flyers seeking an entry to the airport faced similar hurdles.

“The agency in charge of the parking facility has been unjustly squeezing Rs 100 from us every time we enter the airport even for just 10 minutes. Earlier it was not like this, and since passengers refuse to bear the cost, we are forced to pay the amount from our own pocket,” said Jayanta Saha, who drives a luxury cab.

The airport parking facility is operated by a private firm M S Enterprise Pvt Ltd under a contract from the airport management.

Following the agitation, the airport’s GM (operations) held an urgent meeting with the police and representatives of the agitators, wherein they decided to extend the 10 minutes free parking to commercial vehicles. Airport director Arun Kumar Sharma vetted the decision.

Since 16 June, Kolkata airport is charging Rs 100 for parking a car up to two hours as against the previous Rs 60 for up to four hours.

The parking fee for buses or similar large vehicles was also increased from the earlier Rs 70 for four hours to Rs 110 for two hours. The parking charge for two-wheelers is now Rs 25 for two hours.

After the expiry of the two hour slot, the car park fee increases by Rs 20 an hour for all vehicles expect two-wheelers. For two-wheelers the increase is Rs 10 every additional hour.

The parking charge beyond seven hours and up to 24 hours is 300 per cent of the first two-hour fee for all types of vehicles.