With the issue of merger of 13 villages with the municipal corporation (MC) brewing up among the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress, HT tries to find out the reason behind the villagers opposing the move.
The villagers say the past experience was not fruitful as the civic body didn’t fulfill the promises made to them when 10 villages joined the MC in 2006. The same thing is on the verge of repetition, they claim.
During the reality check by a team of HT, it has come to light that most of the villages under the MC have sanitation problem. Their projects pertaining to basic amenities are delayed by months. The civic body fails to spend the allocated budget on its villages.
In 2015-16, a sum of Rs 12 crore was proposed for providing necessary infrastructure in the villages falling under the MC’s jurisdiction. The MC has spent only `3.5 crore in the past nine months. Even in 2014-15, the civic body had spent only Rs 1.31 crore out of `5 crore.
Whereas the situation in the 13 villages under the Chandigarh administration is better as the panchayati raj system has proved to be effective in the implementation of rural development programmes. The panchyats do not have to wait for so long for any development work. Even the sanitation condition of those villages is much better than those under the civic body.
Sadhu Singh, sarpanch of Sarangpur village which has been adopted by MP Kirron Kher, said, “We do not want merger with the MC as we are happy with the development of the village. Whenever the panchyat approves any project, we get it sanctioned from the UT administration. We are socially connected to each through the panchyat system.”
On the other hand, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) councilor Hardeep Singh, who represents three villages - Attawa, Buterla and Badheri - under the MC, said, “Sanitation condition is not good here at all and we have run from pillar to post to get our works done from the MC. We have to wait for months for any project to start. Moreover, they have even imposed property tax in the villages.”
He said, even to get water or electricity connections, the villagers have to get the procedure done through tehsildar which is a very long procedure as its takes more than six months.
Joginder Singh, general secretary, Pendu Sangharsh Committee, Chandigarh, said, “We are protesting for the past several months against the merger. A few days back, we met the Chandigarh adviser on this issue, who assured us proper justice before taking any decision. The villages under the MC are in a pathetic condition”
There are 23 villages in total, of which 10 are under the municipal corporation and 13 under the Chandigarh administration. Burail, Kajheri, Attawa, Buterla, Badheri, Palsora, Maloya, Dadumajra, Hallomajra and Manimajra villages fall under the MC. The villagers under the administration are Dhanas, Sarangpur, Lahora, Khuda Jassu, Khuda Ali Sher, Kaimbwala, Kishangarh, Daria, Mauli Jagran, Raipur Kalan, Raipur Khurd, Makhanmajra and Behlana.
what parties say
The Congress in 2013 had approved the agenda in House for the merger (with certain conditions) of 13 remaining villages with the MC. Now, with the UT administration again pressuring the villages to come under the ambit of civic body, Congress says it should be done only if several conditions, including regularisation of the area outside ‘lal dora’, no property tax for 10 years and proper development on the lines of Chandigarh, are fulfilled.
The members of the Bhjaratiya Janata Party have been opposing the move. Its delegation led by BJP local unit’s chief Sanjay Tandon has met the UT administrator on the issue . Even in the House meeting held on November 30, the BJP members had opposed the move.