WHEN IT comes to civic issues, Indore’s affairs seem to be every legislator’s business. Dreary topics like the fate of a particular building permission application or sanitary conditions in the City’s localities have suddenly caught the imagination of MLAs from as far afield as Nepanagar, Multai and Betul.
Take the ongoing Vidhan Sabha session. No less than 25 queries pertaining to the (mal?)functioning of the Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC) have been raised by members, none, barring a few, of who have even the most tangential link to the City.
Among those who have sought the lowdown on the Corporation’s activities are Archana Chitnis, Premchand Guddu (Alot) Sajjan Singh Verma (Sonkutch), Dr Sunilam (Multai), Prabhudayal Gehlot (Sailana), Arif Aqueel (Bhopal North) as well as Hitendra Singh, Jagannath Raghuvanshi and Dilip Singh Kushwaha.
Leaving aside Archana Chitnis, who is married to former corporator Sameer Chitnis, Guddu who has business interest in the City and also maintains a residence here, and to a lesser extent Verma owing to his constituency’s proximity, none of the others have an Indore connection.
Many of the questions seem unconnected, too. Sample this, “What is the building permission status of the structure owned by Building Inspector Shyam Sharma at Ravindra Nagar?”
Other queries, although more germane, (what preparations have been made for implementing the 2021 Indore Development Plan? Why, with 3500 muster roll sanitation employees, is Indore still so filthy?) still make one wonder why the issues raised should make an MLA located 400 kilometres away lose sleep.
The flood of queries has also vexed IMC officials who complain that routine tasks have to be ignored to prepare answers demanded by MLAs.
The legislators, though, beg to differ. “If an issue concerns the common man, especially a member of the minority communities, I consider it my duty to bring it to the House’s notice regardless of which part of the State it concerns,” declared Arif Aqueel when contacted over the phone in the State Capital.
Others, however, take a different view. “Increasingly, Assembly questions are being used to settle scores with a party colleague whom it would be difficult to take on publicly. It happened just recently when information about irregularities in a building owned by the Accounts Committee Chairman was leaked by his own partymen,” declared a senior Congress politician speaking on condition of anonymity.