In the absence of a functional civic body and fresh mayoral elections nowhere in sight in the near future, it appears the newly elected councillors have chosen to make their presence felt by interfering in practically every decision taken by municipal corporation commissioner Uma Shankar Gupta.
The latter had recently instructed executive engineers to draw up cost estimates for various civic works, mainly repair work of roads, but councillors objected saying they should have been consulted beforehand.
Commenting on the issue, councillor Kuljit Singh Bedi said, “We’ve been elected councillors of the city and know the issues facing it well so we should be taken into the loop first before any decision is taken. Why weren’t we consulted for the cost estimates for repair of roads?”
Earlier the councillors had objected to paid parking in local markets and had even gone to the extent of holding protests over the issue.
As of now paid parking exists in only a few markets and the MC is now trying to make up its mind whether to extend it to other areas.
In another instance when Gupta asked councillor Manjit Sethi to stick to formal introductions during the oath taking ceremony held on April 27 , the latter replied he (the commissioner ) “should get used to this and what councillors have to say can’t be ignored by him”.
Those in the civic body say the councillors’ attitude is affecting morale and will affect development projects in the city. The repair of roads is an important issue as most of the roads are in pitiable state and need attention.
“I’m working for developing the city and can’t wait for the MC house to be functional. Meanwhile, if anyone has any suggestion he or she can meet me. No one should put hurdles in speeding up civic development,” said MC commissioner Gupta.
Meanwhile, such is the frustration of the new councillors that one of them, Kuljit Bedi, wrote to local bodies secretary Ashok Gupta on Wednesday saying if the mayor elections were not notified within the next 10 days he would approach the courts on the matter.
Punjab local bodies minister Anil Joshi said, “We’ve sought legal opinion (on the issue of the new mayor) from the advocate general following which we’ll decide our next course of action.”