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Hitherto Untold Stories Of Young Girls And Boys Manning The Parking Lots

Young teenage girls brave the cold and dust to earn their bread. Image Credit: The Sangai Express.

IMPHAL, Jan 13: A monthly salary of Rs 2000 to 3000 for a day-long toil under the scorching summer sun or bitter cold during the winter months is what employees of private parking agencies are getting for their effort to ensure proper parking of vehicles and streamline traffic in the congested commercial hubs of the capital city.

Compared to harsh working conditions for such measly incentives, these employees, many of whom are teenage girls, have to endure unfriendly remarks or are even engaged in some hot exchange of words from some vehicle owners reluctant to reach into their pockets for safeguarding their vehicles from thieves who are prowling the market places looking for easy picks.

During a random interaction with some personnel manning many of the parking zones in Imphal, it came to light that several young girls from economically unsound families are working under private parking agencies to support their parents keep the house in order.

These personnel, dominantly from rural areas, are actually employed by private security providers and work for parking agents through certain agreements on financial terms.

Speaking to the Sangai Express, commander of North East India Security Service (NEISS) namely Th. Sharat stated that NEISS personnel are assigned to streamline and collect parking fees from Paona International Market points upto BT Road junction of Paona Market.

Sharat also informed that at an average the daily collection hovers in the Rs 7000 to Rs 12,000 mark.

He also added that NEISS also provides private security personnel to some private firms including medical centers, private banks, schools and media establishments.

Personnel of some other private security service providers are also deployed in Thangal Bazar, BT Road and Secretariat complex areas.

Divided into smaller units/teams from the total strength of 45 personnel manning Paona Bazar, a NEISS employee working in the parking zones gets a monthly salary of Rs 2000, according to 18-year-old Th. Tombiton of Khurai.

Sharing her family background, Tombiton said she had to give up further study after class VIII as her parents needed her support to run the family.

While expressing satisfaction that she could at least contribute some amount out of her monthly earning of Rs 2000, Tombiton also revealed that in case the day’s collection exceeds Rs 100 then the agency provides her 10 percent of the accumulated amount.

Many of her colleagues are from far flung areas such as Noney, Nungba, Moirang, Thanga, Nongpok Sekmai, Kakching and Oinam Huidrom; she maintained adding that these girls stay at rented quarters in order to be able to report for duty which normally begins from 7.30 am and ends at about 5 pm.

One Ayekpam Hemanta, who works under an agency called Ablut and whose jurisdiction covers Thangal Bazar area, said average daily collection from a specific parking zone is about Rs 300 which is accumulated out of parking fee of Rs 5 for two wheelers and double the amount for four wheelers. It is also informed that confrontation often occurs with shop owners and the parking agents as the latter understandably want free parking space for their employees and customers particularly in front of their shop.

Even though a pass system was introduced whereby free parking was allowed, the arrangement became problematic as cases of random parking and encroaching on other’s spot ensued, said a parking agent employee claiming that the issue was put forth to police authorities concerned, but without any definite measures till date.

Another parking agent employee asserted that cases of vehicle theft have declined significantly after the parking system was taken up with the approval of Imphal Municipal Council authorities.

Apart from collection parking fees the private security personnel on duty are also responsible for safe-keeping of the vehicles, the employee said adding that ABLUT has about 43 employees working in Thangal Bazar area.

In contrast to about Rs 2500 monthly salary (excluding commission) to a personnel manning parking slots in Thangal Bazar area, the same task in front of Manipur Secretariat complex earns an individual employee Rs 3000.

The secretariat complex parking zone is the domain of Hatta-based Upliftment of Backward Classes Foundation with the employees mainly from the Muslim community.

Other agents involved in providing private security personnel or manning parking slots include Sangai, Romikom, L Tombi and LYS, said an agency member while informing that parking zones of three Ima Keithel complexes are being manned by personnel of Laxmi Youth Workers’ Union.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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