The Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) is hit with intrigue and feuding among its top brass. Even as chief executive officer (CEO) Kavita Singh and chairman Maninder Singh are trading charges over allocation of work, board secretary Shilpi Pattar Dutt has accused the chief engineer Rajeev Singla of misbehaviour.
Amidst all this, decisions on issues critical to the functioning of the board and with direct impact on the common man like the deployment of manpower and security guards, and utilisation of vacant land in the I-T park have either been delayed or not taken at all.
This is not the first time such intrigue has hit functioning.
In July this year, the then CEO SB Deepak Kumar was shunted out of the board, after he refused to comply with chairman Maninder Singh’s order on disposal of files.
Kumar had been at the centre of a row with senior officials of the board, including the chairman, for alleged misuse of board’s money.
Secretary sought action against chief engineer
The two officers have not seen eye-to-eye since secretary Shilpi Pattar Dutt, who is an HCS officer, joined on August 3. Last month, Singla wrote a letter to board chairman Maninder and the CEO Kavita Singh claiming that the secretary had not been clearing urgent files on time and delaying decisions ‘without any reason’ leading to public harassment.
In response, Shilpi wrote to UT adviser Parimal Rai on October 3, accusing Singla of misbehaviour. In her letter, she claimed that files relating to the deployment of manpower in the board should be routed by the CEO, but Singla had not been doing this.
She had also sought disciplinary action against Singla for ‘bypassing her’ when she was appointed the chairperson of the fact-finding committee in allotment of tender of public toilets and directly approaching the legal remembrancer.
What Singla said
In his letter, Singla has alleged that since Shilpi joined the CHB, all important files were either being not received by her or returned without any remarks or decision.
“Files on important decisions like deployment of manpower and guards in the board, and utilisation of vacant land in IT park, Chandigarh, were returned by her. On enquiry, she would rebuff me by saying what’s the hurry,” Singla’s letter stated.
When contacted for fresh comments, Singla said, “Her allegations are baseless I have apprised the chairman of the board.” Shilpi could not be contacted for comments.
Chairman-CEO row: Maninder rubbishes allegations
Board chairman Maninder Singh has refuted allegations of board CEO Kavita Singh that she was bypassed in decision-making. “Her allegations are baseless and I will take up the matter with the UT adviser,” said Maninder, claiming that the CEO was irregular in attending House meetings.
Meanwhile, some board members have backed Maninder. A member Prem Kaushik said, “The CEO hardly visits her office at the CHB. In her absence, the chairman has to take some decisions as the office deals with public matters. We will request UT administration to appoint a regular CEO or abolish the post.” Another member Raghubir Arora claimed, “Somebody inside the board is against the CEO.”
In her September 28 letter to the UT adviser Parimal Rai, CEO Kavita Singh alleged that she was not consulted on agenda items before board meetings and has even requested Rai to relieve her from the CEO’s post. Kavita, who holds the additional charge of CEO, visits the CHB office twice a week and for one hour, records show.
CEO Kavita Singh has alleged that agenda items were not discussed with her. Referring to the minutes of a board meeting held on September 28, she claimed there were six additional agenda items that she was unaware of.
The chairman has claimed that the the CEO has been irregular in attending office and records show that she was in office only twice a week for an hour each.