Rs 170 cr collected from builders, but Zirakpur infra not upgraded
MC has yet to come out with a workable plan to utilise the money even as drains remain choked, streetlights go missing and damaged roads are yet to be repairedUpdated: Jul 26, 2020, 20:50 IST
Despite collecting ₹170 crore as development charges from builders, the Zirakpur municipal council (MC) has failed to upgrade the city’s infrastructure.
As choked drains, missing streetlights and damaged roads remain a problem, the MC has yet to come out with a workable plan to utilise the money it has collected from builders as external (EDC) and internal development charges (IDC).
Sandeep Tewari, MC executive officer, said around ₹170 crore had been collected, “of which we have ₹100 crore as fixed deposit and ₹70 crore in bank account.”
On upgrading infrastructure, he said there were problems with the designs of drainage and stormwater pipes, which resulted in waterlogging. “The roads have not been levelled property. I don’t want to spend money on laying tiles or paver blocks and will make sure that the drainage problem is sorted out,” Tewari added.
He also said the MC would ensure there were no such design flaws.
Zirakpur has around 100 group housing societies and 40 commercial establishments. MC collects ₹1crore as EDC and IDC charges from residential group housing societies and ₹1.35 crore from commercial societies.
It’s the MC’s duty to ensure that money is spent on building and repair of roads, streetlights, sewerage and drainage system and beautification of the area.
DETAILED REPORT TO BE SUBMITTED
Commenting on the matter, Brahm Mohindra, minister of Punjab local bodies, said, “We plan to provide the best possible infrastructure to Zirakpur as it is a gateway to our state. I have already asked the officer concerned to submit a detailed report about all the shortcomings in infrastructure and we will do what is required.”
Zirakpur is an island of chaos surrounded by the planned cities of Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali. Growth in the town has been haphazard from the word go, with villages giving way to colonies, mostly illegal, and property dealers and realtors tapping into the need for modest housing for those less privileged.
After more than a decade of unplanned development, the city finally got a master plan in 2009. But before it could be implemented, the town’s population exploded by 282% between 2001 and 2011. With a population expected to shoot up to 3 lakh by 2021, and 8 lakh by 2030, this urban sprawl stands little chance of orderly development.
Harish Gupta, president of Zirakpur Builders Association, said they had met Mohindra and apprised him of their problems. “Even the proposed road-7 (PR-7 or Airport road) aligned with several housing and commercial projects has been approved by local government (MC Zirakpur) but no sewage line or rain water management has been planned. Despite charging an extra ₹5 lakh per acre as PR cess from the builders, the department is providing no facility.”
59 ILLEGAL COLONIES IN ZIRAKPUR
According to officials in Punjab’s local government department, there are 59 illegal colonies within MC limits even though unofficial sources say the numbers are higher.
Ironically, most of these were developed after the master plan was notified.
Additionally, Dera Bassi tehsil, of which Zirakpur is a part, has 57 illegal colonies in an area that falls under the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) jurisdiction.
The boundaries of these illegal colonies are not clearly marked, often leading to confusion when it comes to implementing the master plan.