The local municipal corporation on Wednesday passed its annual budget of Rs. 300 crore amid a walkout by the Congress councillors, who termed the budget as a 'pack of lies'. Mayor Bakshi Ram Arora apologised to the House for overstepping his powers and annulling a resolution of a previous MC House meeting held in January and keeping another resolution pending, after he was questioned by councillors on the issue.
During the meeting, councillors of the SAD-BJP alliance also joined the Congress members in lambasting the MC for not paying due attention to the prevailing insanitation in the city. "This budget is nothing but a pack of lies," Congress councillor Gurinder Singh Rishi said. He added that in the budget, out of Rs. 300 crore, the MC was likely to spend Rs. 180 crore on salaries.
"In view of the statement given by the deputy chief minister for reviewing property tax, it was not right on the part of the MC to feature the amount to be collected under this head in the budget," Rishi said.
He lambasted the MC for not paying due attention to the sanitation aspect of the city. "While garbage is lifted from the main markets of the walled city, hardly any attention is paid to cleaning the cramped bylanes, which remain littered throughout the day," he said. Rishi maintained that the situation turns from bad to worse on weekend when no garbage lifting is undertaken.
Stating that the walled city has places of religious and historical interest, Rishi said a number of tourists visit the area every day. "Lack of sanitation leaves a bad impression on them," he said. Rishi announced to launch four rickshaws to look into the sanitation aspect in his ward in collaboration with Shaheed Bhagat Singh Welfare Club. The project would cost nearly Rs. 1 lakh, he said. Stating that it would take care of sanitation of the most visited religious and historical places, Rishi demanded eight employees from the MC for the purpose.
Surinder Singh, a SAD councillor, charged the MC authorities with not consulting councillors while framing policies for the sanitation of the city. "Councillors are never consulted by the officials concerned of the MC in matters pertaining to sanitation of the city. No wonder, streets are always littered with garbage," he said.
He added that mayor Bakshi Ram Arora had apologised to councillors for overstepping his powers to annul one resolution brought up during a meeting of the MC House held in January and keep another one pending.
"The MC authorities were questioned about an illegal building coming up on Batala Road and some irregularities in the ongoing sanitation drive," he said.
Confirming that he had apologised to the House for annulling a resolution, mayor Bakshi Ram Arora said this had to be done as his signatures were not there. "I have assured councillors that this would not happen in future," he said. Arora, however, claimed that the meeting went on smoothly. "Every councillor was given a chance to speak during the four-hour meeting," he added.