High drama prevailed during the general house meeting of the Municipal Corporation Jalandhar (MCJ) on Tuesday with the members of the Balmiki community and the sweepers’ union storming the house and shouting slogans against the mayor and the Punjab government over the decision to implement the solid waste management project in the district.
The entire episode took place few minutes after mayor Sunil Jyoti and the union members a held a meeting at the Circuit House.
The mayor tried to convince the protesters to move out of the house and asked to submit a written complaint in this regard, but to no avail.
The situation got tense and the protesters hurled bottles at the councillors when Akali councillor Balbir Singh said the union members are using force and resorting to hooliganism while pressing for their demands.
The house meeting that went on for 40 minutes was disrupted for 35 minutes and all the decisions were taken in the remaining five minutes.
Abuses were hurled thick and fast inside the house.
Adding fuel to the fire, Desh Raj Jassal, Congress councillor from ward number 1, told the protesters that their party was supported their cause and was opposed to “anti-people diktats of the SAD-BJP coalition in the MC”.
Senior deputy mayor Kamaljit Singh Bhatia stood in support of the mayor. “The Congress councillors are resorting to populist politics since all of them had earlier agreed in written to the implementation of the solid waste management project.”
The Congress councillors staged a walkout, declaring they were boycotting the general house meeting.
Gurpreet Singh Khehra who joined as the MC commissioner after the state government shot him a mail late Monday was also present in the house. He tried to defuse the tension by asking the protesters to leave the house and meet him at his office.
Once the commissioner left, the house was restored and the Congress councillors returned to participate in the proceedings. But the situation deteriorated soon after when Bhatia along with Ravi Mahendru supported by SAD-BJP councillors opposed the Congress councillors’ stance.
They asked the latter to take
back their decision of boycotting the house in written and then participate in the proceedings.
The Congress councillors staged a walkout again. The proceedings of the house were resumed and all the decisions were taken in the absence of the commissioner and the Congress councillors within five minutes.
Following protest by some alliance councillors, the mayor constituted an ad-hoc committee to look into the issue of transferring land meant for the solid waste management at Jamsher village.
The proposal of installing LED Street-lights and setting up an automated traffic signal system in the district was put on hold.
The Congress councillors alleged that the idea of calling the general house meeting was eyewash.
“Bhatia is a turncoat and must have got his share before the house meeting and hence he changed his stance to support the mayor. The only purpose of the house meeting was to push forward the agenda which has been finalised long before,” they claimed.