Think treatment at AIIMS is cheap? Add parking charges

It will cost you at least Rs 100 to park your car inside the premises; rates are higher than those at the swankest malls in Delhi. Patients and their relatives are up in arms.

The bad news is that these parking charges can give you a heart attack. The good news is you'll be at a hospital when you get it. But that's no consolation for most of the patients and their relatives coming to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).

Rady to pay the price? The parking lot inside AIIMS campus.
Pic/Rajeev Tyagi

Adding to the medical bills is the fact that the medical institute charges Rs 100 per car for the first four hours (and Rs 15 per hour subsequently) at the parking lot inside the campus. This means even if you park your car for five minutes, you'll have to shell out hundred rupees. This is surprisingly more than the rates at even the swankest malls in the city. Only, the parking charges at Delhi airport are higher, at Rs 900 for a day.

On a roll: The parking facility is used by most people coming to AIIMS
as it's near the main entrance.

Cost factor
"The charges are really high. If a hospital will charge this much from us, then what will shopping malls do? I came here to get an appointment with the doctor, but sadly couldn't find him. Yet I have spent Rs 200 for two days," said Dinesh Singh, a financial consultant, who came to the hospital for his 10-year-old son's treatment. Aditya Singh, a serviceman, said "I came here for my uncle's treatment. We were here for seven days, and apart from spending a lot of money on the medical bills, we have spent Rs 700 for the parking charges. This is really expensive. This is the first time I have seen any hospital charging this high a rate for a car parking. But, what can we do? This parking is near the entrance, so, we have to leave our car here."

Apart from this parking lot, which is close to the hospital's main gate, there's another facility more than 1 km away from the institute. The parking area near Masjid Moth charges Rs 30 per hour. Few people, who cannot afford the higher amount, park their vehicles here despite the inconvenience.

One of such patient from Haryana Sumit Gupta said, "We park our vehicle here every day, and then wait for the free bus service that is provided by the institute. We have no other option." Doctors at the institute on the other hand feel that there should be no parking inside the institute to prevent the overcrowding of vehicles.
"The institute is full of cars. All the roads are packed with cars standing in the parking as well as no-parking areas. To avoid all this, it is better not to have any parking inside the institute," said a faculty member from the institute on the condition of anonymity.

Digging deep
Providing respite to patients and visitors who struggle to find car parking space at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, the Delhi Urban Art Commission has approved plans for a three-level underground parking site near Masjid Moth, behind the hospital. This is likely to be ready by September 2012. The underground parking site is part of the redevelopment plan drafted to decongest AIIMS. Tenders for this project have already been floated and work will be awarded once the NDMC approval comes. The NDMC, on the other hand, claimed that approval for the project had already been granted. On an average, around 7,000-8,000 vehicles are parked in and around AIIMS every day. Visitors often have to pay exorbitant amounts to park in the front portion of the hospital.

The other side
Dr Y K Gupta, official spokesperson, AIIMS said "This is basically to discourage indiscriminate parking in the institute. It is just a premium parking and the charges are kept high, as there had always been a space crunch. People even park their vehicles on the road, which sometimes creates a lot of chaos. So, due to limited space and for people's convenience, this step has been taken."

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