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HindustanTimes Wed,03 Sep 2014

Civic body passes budget amid protest by Cong

Navrajdeep Singh, Hindustan Times  Patiala, March 27, 2014
First Published: 10:42 IST(27/3/2014) | Last Updated: 10:47 IST(27/3/2014)

The Patiala Municipal Corporation passed Rs. 120 crore budget amid boycott by Congress councillors and unexpected protest from Aam Aadmi Party members.

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The situation turned tense after AAP members sneaked into the general house meeting hall and disrupted proceedings of the meetings. Following this SAD councillors sitting near the entry point confronted them and restricted their entry into the hall.

Both SAD councillors  and AAP protestors exchanged heated arguments and hurled abuses at each other.

Meanwhile, it was later realized that AAP members came only to hand over a memorandum regarding their demands and were not aware of general house meeting going on the meeting hall.

Mayor Amarinder Bajaj tried to leave the meeting hall from the back gate exit point but was told by former mayor Ajitpal Singh Kohli to face the protestors instead of running from the situation.

“Amarinder Bhaj na. Himmat nal face kar ate jwab de (Don’t run Amarinder, just face with courage and answer them),” said Kohli to Amarinder.

Earlier, the civic bodies got annual budget for coming financial year passed from the finance and contract committee meeting and then tabled it before the general house.

Interestingly, as soon as the meeting started, Kohli was the first person who immediately raised questions over claims of civic bodies of achieving 94 percent of targets.

“Facts given by the authorities are completely misledeading. The MC achieved only 68 percent of set targets if the sale of property which made the MC to earn Rs. 25 crore is excluded from the list of achieved targets as the provision of sale of property was not included in last year’s budget”, Kohli said.

Following this, Sanjeev Sharma Bittu, leader of opposition in the House, who was sitting adjacent to Kohli, started disapproving the decision of the PMC authorities to include provision pertaining to sale of property in this budget.

“The PMC is left with few properties and selling or transferring land to state government posed serious threat to income generation prospects in near future. We won’t allow them to sell  MC’s hard earned properties”, Bittu said.

Throwing the agenda file on the table, Congress councillors started raising slogans against Punjab government and left the room.

Bajaj said this was for the first time that Rs. 52 crore will be spent on the development of the city as earlier the figure never cross Rs. 30 crore mark. “Boycotting the meeting was political stunt by Congress men as they knew that they had done nothing which we have done in past years”, he said.

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