Chandigarh mayor gets dose of her own medicine
Residents ask Raj Bala Malik ‘can you walk on these streets’ as she recently courted controversy saying that she hardly found any city road in bad state; visited the village to take stock of civic issues being faced by residentsUpdated: Feb 14, 2020 01:21 IST
Mayor Raj Bala Malik, who recently created a row with her comments that she hardly found city roads in bad state, had to wade through damaged streets in Kishangarh village on Thursday.
A resident, Narinder Lubana, asked her, “Can you walk on this road?” To this, the mayor replied, “That is why I am here, to listen to your problems.” She was in the village with a team of municipal corporation (MC) officials to take stock of the civic issues here. During the visit, the residents also asked her to get the roads repaired on urgent basis.
A major portion of the village’s main road has a number of large pits. The seepage of sewage has worsened the situation. As Malik entered the village, a large number of residents encircled her and sought immediate intervention in the civic issues being faced by them.
One villager, Jasbir Singh, said, “Rainy season is our worst nightmare. As the roads have deep pits, two-wheeler commuters often fall over them and sustain injuries.” Another villager, Sukhwinder Singh, said, “We often shell out money from our own pockets to fill up the pits but they don’t sustain for long, as there is no provision for drainage of rainwater. Even sewage pipes are leaking, and damage roads.”
One Mansa Ram said they battle with huge waterlogging issues, adding that “There are times when children can’t even reach their schools.”
After listening to the villagers’ grievances, mayor directed MC chief engineer Shailender Singh, who was also present on the spot, to immediately take up the matter regarding the repairing of roads. However, he told the mayor that “There is no point spending money on roads before making adequate provision for the discharge of rainwater and upgrade of the sewerage.” “We will first upgrade the inner sewage lines and give proper gradient for the drainage of rainwater so that no water stays on the roads and damages them,” he said.
A villager, Sohan Singh, blamed it on local authorities for their “pitiable condition.” “Sewerage in the village was laid down in 90s when its population was just 1,000. Now, more than 20,000 people live here but the system has not been upgraded so far,” he said. To this, Malik asked the MC engineers to check technical feasibility of the same at the earliest and start the work on ground level.
Meanwhile, the MC officials were seen struggling to clarify if the village’s main road fell in the domain of the UT engineering department or theirs. While executing engineer Ajay Garg said the road had been transferred to MC, area SDO Arvind Bishnoi was not convinced and claimed that it was still with UT. Chief engineer then asked them to recheck the status and accordingly, start work on budget estimates.
After raising road and sewerage issues, the villagers asked Malik to augment their water supply, saying the existing system was not adequate. Local BJP leader Bhajan Singh said there was huge water scarcity in the village.
“Two tube wells installed for the villagers are not adequate. The village should be connected to canal water supply and if this is not possible, at least two more tube wells should be installed,” he said. On this, MC public health executive engineer Suresh Gill said they had earlier mooted a proposal to install a tube well in the area but it did not work. He also asked the villagers to come forward and provide a piece of land for the same.