Finding herself in deep trouble over the distribution of 406 free parking passes under various categories, mayor Raj Bala Malik now says she will ban free passes from next time. The issue is set to rock the house during a meeting scheduled on Monday.
The mayor was only entitled for five passes, but she got issued 406 free passes. Even senior deputy mayor Darshan Garg and deputy mayor Satish Kainth were issued 11 passes each against the entitlement of five. The cost of free passes distributed in all categories for three years is Rs 2.84 crore.
"No extra passes have been given to anyone and I only followed the old practice. Now, we are planning to ban free passes from next time," the mayor said.
The BJP councillors have questioned that why these passes are being printed at a private press and not at a government press.
The issue came to light after BJP councillor Arun Sood raised the issue in the last house meeting in April. The reply, which he got from MC on May 26, states that of the total 406 passes issued in the name of the mayor, 222 were meant for councillors and issued to her in instalments, while 131 passes were issued from ex-councillors' category in the mayor's name. From the employees' quota, 35 passes were issued in the name of the mayor. She even took 18 passes, one each from sample of every category. The total amount of passes issued to mayor comes to around Rs 44 lakh.
Congress councillor Subhash Chawla, who was entitled for only five passes got three extra passes from ex-councillor quota. Even 20 class 1 officers of MC, who are entitled to two free parking passes have taken more than that and had taken from employees' quota of passes.
According to the reply, the civic body printed a total of 3,020 passes this year. Of these, 1,105 were given to MC and administration employees, 900 to media persons and 355 to gallantry award winners, blood donors, etc. As many as 250 passes were issued to ex-councillors who are entitled with two passes each.
Speaking to HT, Arun Sood said the nexus of the Congress councillors has come to light. "Why the passes are being printed at a private press when every other material is being printed at government press. Also, why the printer has not claimed the bill to the tune of Rs 1.75 lakh from MC?" he said.
He added that a monthly pass for a car costs Rs 300 if a resident purchases it. This means that the passes distributed by the mayor, which are valid for three years, would cost the MC Rs 44 lakh.
Another SAD-BJP councillor, Malkait Singh, said, "We will also raise the issue that when officers have stickers on their official vehicle, why two stickers are issued to them for their private vehicles?"