After severe criticism of the building branch of the Ludhiana municipal corporation (MC) for discrepancies in the wing, mayor Harcharan Singh Gohalwaria has asked the officials not to bow down to political pressure.
In a meeting that took place in the zone D of the MC at Sarabha Nagar, almost all assistant town planners (ATPs), inspectors and municipal town planner (MTP) were present.
The meeting continued for more than two hours in which mayor unequivocally told the officials not to bow down before any kind of pressure.
The MC's building branch, which is responsible to take care of any kind of flouting of norms in the building bylaws in the city and also fine violators, has been facing criticism since long. There are many illegal buildings in all four zones of the MC which have already come under the scanner.
"The mayor had asked the officials to fasten the process of issuing challans as there had complaints from a section of people that challans were not issued against all and the process was biased," an official said.
The official who was present in the meeting said that the Mayor was annoyed with the continuous reporting on the issue that was targeting the building branch of the MC as a result the meeting was called. Mayor also told the officials that recovery of the challans should also be fastened.
The issue of "The Hub", a bar-cum-restaurant, which came under controversy after assault on the assistant inspector general (AIG) recently, was also raised by the mayor. It was earlier reported that the entry to the building was against the building bylaws. The building belonged to Sunny Johar, who is considered to harbour close connections with the Shiromani Akali Dal. The mayor told the officials that action should be taken against any building in the city despite any pressure.
HT had reported on Thursday that defaulters owe a sum of Rs 4,92,49,125 to the building branch of the MC. Officials have failed to realise this amount from the defaulters for the past several years.
The mayor also told the officials that they should not be worried. "The mayor told us that he could accompany us in the field in case action was taken against any unauthorised building that has a political backing," an ATP, who was present in the meeting, said.
He said the mayor also asked the officials to assess pending challans so that revenue could be collected for the MC.
Mayor Harcharan Singh Gohalwaria said, "I held a review meeting with the building branch officials in which several problems were discussed. The issue of illegal buildings across the city was also raised with officials and I told them that they should take action against any building flouting bylaws without any pressure. Some issues related to lack of equipment such as JCB among other things were also discussed with the officials and it would be sorted out soon. I have asked the officials that political pressure should hinder their work."