Selection of late applicants raises questions on nominated councillors in Chandigarh | punjab$chandigarh | Hindustan Times
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Selection of late applicants raises questions on nominated councillors in Chandigarh

Four out of the nine councillors this time were picked from among persons who had applied after the “last date” for the tenure starting 2017, reveal documents accessed under Right to Information Act by activist RK Garg.

punjab Updated: May 28, 2017 09:47 IST
Arvind Chhabra
It is possible that lack of transparency is a factor why people are losing interest in seeking nomination.
It is possible that lack of transparency is a factor why people are losing interest in seeking nomination.(HT Representative Image)

Along with elected members of the Chandigarh municipal corporation, nine nominated councillors discuss and decide the taxes citizens will pay, laws and rules that will govern the city, and much more. Ironically, hardly any rules or procedures are followed in appointment of the nominated councillors. And this stands underlined again.

Four out of the nine councillors this time were picked from among persons who had applied after the “last date” for the tenure starting 2017, reveal documents accessed under Right to Information Act by activist RK Garg.

The documents also reveal that there is no transparency followed in the nomination process; not even advertisements are issued to invite applications.

As per a notification issued by the Union law ministry, these nine members with voting rights are to be nominated by the administrator from among persons “who are eminent or distinguished in public affairs or those who have special knowledge or practical experience in respect of municipal corporation.”

WHO ARE THEY?

The administrator had nominated the following to the MC this time: Charanjiv Singh, Ajay Dutta, Sachin Kumar Lohtiya, Haji Mohammad Khurshid Ali, Jyotsna Wig, Shipra Bansal, Sat Parkash Aggarwal, Kamla Sharma, and Maj Gen MS Kandal (retd), from January 1, 2017. The selection had raised eyebrows with most people belonging to the ruling party but now other irregularities have come to the fore.

The procedure followed was that the deputy commissioner was told to send names latest by December 14, 2016. Four out of the eventually-nominated nine had applied to the DC well after that. Names of these four — Khalid, Lohtiya, Khurshid Ali and Shipra Bansal — were in a supplementary list received on December 22.

LOSING INTEREST?

It is possible that lack of transparency is a factor why people are losing interest in seeking nomination. This time 73 persons applied, including 13 after the last date. In comparison, over 100 persons had applied for terms beginning in 2012 and 2007.

“I’m appalled by the opacity and lack of transparency in the whole system,” says Garg, who got the information after four months and that too after intervention of the administrator’s office.

NO NOTICE OR ADVERTISEMENT

The process took place without even a basic advertisement to invite applications. People simply applied on their own to whosoever they deemed fit — the Raj Bhawan, deputy commissioner or the administration.

The administration had asked the DC to send at least 20 names on October 20, 2016. “This was followed by subsequent reminders on November 3, November 9 and 15. But no reply has been received from DC Chandigarh,” noted an official in the file.

MP Singh, additional chief secretary to the governor, observed that no advertisement was issued calling for applications though he didn’t exactly raise any objection.