Rs 12 lakh, 84 hours later, MC meetings fail to address issues

  • Hillary Victor, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Dec 08, 2014 10:21 IST

As the year draws to a close, the inept administration of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation (MC) comes to the fore again.

In the last 11 months, the civic body has spent around Rs 12 lakh and 84 hours on monthly general house meetings, but has failed to solve important civic issues.

In a majority of these meetings, the last of which will be held on December 30, MC councillors paid lip service on issues such as provision of basic amenities, while simultaneously emptying its coffers.

Of the 12 monthly meetings, six passed without any fruitful discussion on civic issues.

Most meetings turned out to be noisy affairs and failed to achieve any specific results.

Rather than discussing issues such as stray dog and/or cattle menace, water logging, encroachments, water scarcity, shortage of sweepers; several councillors from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress were found indulging in petty politics.

The MC did not propose even a single project for the city this year.

In almost all the meetings, city mayor Harphool Chander Kalyan was at receiving end as the opposition saved its sharpest and stingiest ammunition for the city mayor.

Moreover, it was not uncommon to find councillors digressing from discussions on critical civic issues and sharing jokes, mocking the opposition and talking over mobile phones during meetings.

MC councillors failed to take these meetings seriously as is evident from the fact that almost all meetings, which were scheduled to begin at 11 am, began only at 11:30 am.

On an average, councillors spend around seven hours during each monthly meeting, that is, they spend 84 hours in a year.

Each meeting costs Rs 1 lakh, of which Rs 60,000 is spent on lunch, while Rs 500 is paid as honorarium to each councillor for attending the meeting.

A total of Rs 17,500 is paid as honorarium for 35 councillors.

The rest is spent on stationary and printing agenda booklets.

Former mayor Harjinder Kaur, who has served as a councillor for the past 18 years, said: “It is very unfortunate to note that the elected body remains a toothless tiger.

There is no coordination between the mayor, the senior deputy mayor and the deputy mayor.

Officials do not pay heed to the elected councillors, but follow the directions of the UT administration.

It is sad that discussions on various issues have failed to result in concrete action.

As elected representatives, our aim is to provide better amenities. But, we are unable to do so as the situation in the city has worsened in the past 11 months.”

Nominated councillor Major DS Sandhu (retd) said though the councillors discussed several civic issues, they failed to implement the decisions and directives in spirit.

He added: “The councillors are not serious about these issues.”

Mayor's take

MC mayor Harphool Chander Kalyan said: “Despite the opposition frequently disrupting the house, we were able to approve many development projects. The opposition, which was never interested in the development of the city, indulged in petty politics often.”

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