Kashmiri Devi worst in House attendance

  • Hillary Victor, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Feb 25, 2015 12:56 IST

They may make a lot of hue and cry over the lack of powers to the municipal corporation, but many councillors care little about the MC House meetings, reflected in their dismal attendance record.

In the four years of the current House, former Congress MP Pawan Kumar Bansal — who was ex-officio member as MP, from 2012 to his loss in the Lok Sabha polls last year — missed 20 of the 32 meetings. Even the present MP, BJP’s Kirron Kher, was found absent in nine of the 12 meetings held in her tenure so far.

The details — sought from January 2012 to January 2015 — were obtained under the Right to Information (RTI) Act. In all, 44 meetings were held in this period.

The worst among councillors was former senior deputy mayor Rana Kashmiri Devi, who missed 26 of the 44 meetings. Nominated councillor Sat Paul Bansal missed 12, while BSP councillors Jannat Jahan and Naresh Kumar missed 11 each. Nominated councillor Dr Amrita Tewari was absent in eight of the meetings. Devi, 67, who recently switched to the BJP from Congress, is the oldest member of the House and represents Ward 14. She has not even uttered a single word in the House so far.

On the other hand, councillors with 100% attendance include BJP’s Arun Sood, Davesh Moudgil and Satish Kainth, and Congress’ Darshan Garg, Mukesh Bassi and Harphool Chander Kalyan.

Fruitless exercise?

Every year, MC civic body spends around `12 lakh and 84 hours on the monthly House meetings, but has failed to solve important civic issues. Each meeting costs `1 lakh, of which `60,000 is spent on lunch, while `500 is paid as honorarium to each councillor for attending the meeting. In a majority of these meetings, MC councillors paid lip service on issues such as provision of basic amenities.

Last year, of the 12 meetings, six passed without any fruitful discussion on civic issues. Most turned out to be noisy affairs and failed to achieve any specific result.

Rather than discussing issues such as stray dogs or the cattle menace, waterlogging, encroachment, water scarcity, shortage of sweepers, councillors from both the BJP and Congress were found indulging in petty arguments.

In the House of 36, after a series of defections from the Congress, the BJP-SAD combine has 14 members, plus MP Kirron Kher; the Congress has eight, one is Independent, while the BSP has two; and there are nine nominated councillors. One seat (ward 10) is vacant due to the death of the councillor.

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