The municipal corporation (MC) councillors and senior leaders of political parties demanded the suspension of MC commissioner during an emergency House meeting that was called by mayor Harcharan Singh Gohalwaria on Tuesday.
The BJP and Bains group councillors demanded replacement of mayor, who is a SAD councillor.
High drama was witnessed after the mayor adjourned the House meeting amid unruly scenes and went out of the meeting hall with the MC commissioner, the SAD and some independent councillors.
The remaining members of the House demanded from deputy senior mayor Sunita Agarwal to head the meeting. Following which they brought a proposal demanding suspension of MC commissioner and replacement of mayor.
It is pertinent to mention here that the meeting was organised to discuss the demolition drive that was conducted in Karimpura Bazaar on Monday. The MC teams along with heavy police force had demolished the encroachments raised by the shopkeepers in Karimpura Bazar after which the latter had blocked traffic at Jagroan Bridge on Monday. The political leaders claimed that the shopkeepers had not raised encroachments.
When councillors sought clarification about the demolition drive, Gohalwaria said the drive in Karimpura was conducted without his consent. He said the matter was pending with the government.
Councillor-cum-district Congress president Gurpreet Gogi also demanded from the mayor to bring the proposal to suspend commissioner GK Singh. Thereafter, the BJP, Bains group and the SAD councillors also supported the demand.
However, when the commissioner started speaking, MLA Simarjit Singh Bains interrupted and said what clarification he needed after the demolition of the shops. Meanwhile, MLA Bharat Bhushan Ashu also bursted with anger against the commissioner.
Proposal against mayor, commissioner
Senior deputy mayor from BJP, Sunita Agarwal, on Tuesday said they had signed a proposal to suspend the commissioner and change the mayor of the city. She said they were just demanding proposal to suspend the commissioner but the mayor adjourned the meeting. The Congress MLAs and councillors expressed unhappiness when the mayor went out after adjourning the meeting.
The Congress councillors said the MC team had allegedly demolished shops which were not encroachments.
None other than him can run House proceedings: Mayor
Gohalwaria too claimed that the demolition drive that was conducted in Karimpura was wrong, adding that the agenda of the House meeting was to discuss the matter. He said the officials, who were at fault, would not be spared. On being asked about the BJP’s role, the mayor said it was wrong if the BJP and others councillors tried to bring any proposal after adjourning the meeting as they had no legal right. He said he would talk to the high command.
The MC has identified 6,355 encroachments as submitted in the civil writ petition 4886 of 2003. It has removed 2,429 encroachments. The hearing of contempt petition is scheduled to be held on January 27. The MC has to submit action report regarding removal of encroachments.
We Followed HC directions: MC chief
MC Commissioner GK Singh said: “We have followed the directions of the Punjab and Haryana high court. I have also marked an inquiry as shopkeepers were raising voice against the demolition drive. The notices have been sent to the encroachers.”
“If the House members have brought any proposal and created any obstruction, we’ll inform about it to the high court. We are following the directions of the high court and are not doing anything with mala fide intention”, he said.
“I came here to discuss development projects for the city. I have been appointed by the government and the House can’t suspend me,” the MC commissioner said.
‘Structures razed were not encroachments’
The members of the Municipal Ministerial Employees of Association also staged a protest for more than three hours and held gate rally. The members claimed that the sources had informed them that the mayor wanted suspension of the assistant town planner (ATP) concerned regarding the demolition drive in Karimpura Bazaar. Jasdev Sekhon, president of the association, said they came to work after House meeting.
Rakesh Prashar, area councillor, also alleged that MC team had demolished those structures of shops which were not encroachments.