Labeling political interference in the functioning of Municipal Corporations as the key reason for corruption in civic bodies, outgoing Jalandhar mayor Rakesh Rathour, who has voluntarily opted out of the electoral battle, has suggested privatisation and outsourcing of civic works as the way out.
“Yes, political interference is one of the key reasons of corruption in the civic bodies and no politician should be allowed to directly influence any official or patronise them. If the authority takes this seriously, it won’t be difficult to free civic bodies of corruption,” Rathour told Hindustan Times in an exclusive interview.
On reasons behind his decision not to contest elections this time, the mayor said: “I have had my fill and this chance should be given to someone else now.”
“There are some prestigious projects like sports complex, Nehru Garden, food court and Chandan Nagar over bridge, which could not see the light of day during my tenure. However, the work for all these project has begun,” Rathour said.
Suggesting steps to curb corruption, the mayor said privatisation, outsourcing, and computerisation of every public-oriented work would be able to control rampant corruption in the civic bodies. “For instance, private companies could be assigned the task of house tax collection, as this will not only lead to more fund generation, but also bring corruption under control,” the mayor suggested.
“One of the BJP councillors once gave a call to boycott the meeting of the House. It was embarrassing. However, no one heeded his call. That he walked out alone was a morale booster for me,” he reminisced.
“Even councillors of the opposition Congress party never levelled any allegation of discrimination against me, which is quite unusual,” he claimed.
On the fact that none of the previous mayors had been able to sustain a political career, Rathour pointed out that he was opting out on his own in spite of having very good chances at re-election.
“I felt stagnated in my political career, which is why I have asked the party to relieve me of my responsibilities.”