The Punjab and Haryana high court has said that the Panchkula municipal corporation had failed to discharge the duties and its powers are required to be transferred or taken over by the state government. The HC bench of justice Amit Rawal passed the order in a February petition filed by a Saketri village resident, Pradeep Singh, seeking relief from sewage flowing right opposite his house.
“It appears to be a stage of invoking the provisions of Section 400 of the Haryana Municipal Corporation Act, 1994, where it has failed to discharge the duties and its powers are required to be transferred or taken over by the state government. Therefore, this court takes such a drastic step in issuing direction to the state government to invoke the aforementioned provisions,” The high court bench said while posting the matter for May 15 seeking response from all concerned.
Under Section 400 of the MC Act, the government starts process of takeover of a MC and issues show-cause notices to elected members. The HC bench also observed that MC was not using funds for development and prevention of diseases and had failed to address to take measures for better health conditions of people. It added officials were not taking action, even as they enjoyed facilities that the government provided.
In the February petition, the HC had summoned the deputy commissioner and the MC commissioner in March, but no action was taken. The HC observed that newspapers were full of articles highlighting the poor sanitation facilities in the tricity and the number of patients of dengue, chikungunya increased every year. The court appointed a team to do a recce of the area where there is no provision of dust bins.
- No progress on project to lay underground pipe in Saketri in limbo
- No report as to how many sewerage treatment plant were working
- Internal roads are broken, no patchwork done
- Monkeys/ stray animals fed by commuters
- Encroachment on Majri chowk
- Slums had come up on the wat Mansa Devi temple on land meant for a specialty hospital
- Dysfunctional street lights
- Dumping of waste done within 2 km of residential area
- Commercial establishments mushrooming in residential areas
- MC has been consistently spending less than what was allotted to it for development works. For instance, in 2015-16, it spent less than 33%; similar figures were reported for 2014-15 as well.
Chandigarh MC too also faces flak
The Chandigarh MC also drew flak. While seeking its response on measures being taken to handle civic issues, the court said problems such as dysfunctional streets-light, overlapping of trees on street lights were frequently reported from Chandigarh as well. The bench also asked the civic body to apprise it on the status of the implementation of ban on plastic bags and cleanliness drive in and around the Sukhna Choe. The MC was also told that it should not grant permission to hold langars and chhabeels on the main road and whether permission from traffic police was taken.