While the Panchkula municipal corporation is looking the other way, glaring irregularities have surfaced in the functioning of park development committees.
There are around 250 parks in the city, out of which 175 are maintained by the MC through the park development committees and 82 by the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA). As per norms, the committees have to enter into an agreement with the civic body before starting any work.
Sample this: Throwing norms to the wind, some of the committees submitted bills of period of six to 12 months at one time. In some cases, the bills were signed by the local councillors without mentioning the date and no monthly inspection was carried by the municipal engineers (MEs).
The other violations include, bills not signed by an ME and president/general secretary of the committee in some cases. Some of the bills were accepted by the civic body without any agreement with the committee.
Convenor of The People's Voice God's Voice Group Dr BL Tandon has lodged a complaint with Haryana chief minister and principal secretary-cum-commissioner urban local bodies demanding criminal action against the erring officials and members of the committees. Tandon has submitted copies of the bills and other documents to substantiate his charges.
Tandon maintained that the officials concerned accepted back-dated bills of six to 12 months without mandatory monthly physical verification, as verification is not possible in such cases. Most importantly, the bills have not been signed by audit officer.
Local MLA Gian Chand Gupta had also taken up the issue of irregularities in functioning of some of the park development committees. Talking to HT, Gupta said some of the committee are not following the rules and are indulging in malpractices such as fudging the bills, causing loss to the government exchequer. "Some of the committees are doing really good work, but those not following the norms should be reconstituted at the earliest,"said Gupta.
General secretary of the Lok Saravhitkari Society and president of Sector 12 RWA Rakesh Aggarwal said there is dire need to bring transparency in functioning of the park development committees as public money is being wasted.
Last year, the MC audit had pointed out that without the government's sanction, excess and irregular payments for maintenance charges with respect to the park development committees were being paid. These charges were enhanced without permission from `1 per sq mt first to `1.5 per sq mt and then `3 per sq mt in 2013.