Chandigarh admn’s advisory council recycling agendas since 2010
The administrator’s advisory council has been talking about the same issues for more than a decade now.
The Hindustan Times examined the agendas and the minutes of meetings of several of the council’s meetings conducted since 2010 and discovered that there was no set format or uniformity for the UT administration to formulate and present the agendas. Also, issues raised in the meetings seldom got to the implementation stage.
On certain occasions, several UT departments submitted detailed agendas before the meeting. On other occasions, the administration circulated a detailed agenda including issues dealt by the sub-committees. At times, however, the administration didn’t circulate any agenda among the council members before the meeting, as happened before the latest meeting held on February 10.
The demand for a more structured meeting with action-taken reports on previous meetings has gone unheeded for more than a decade now.
Members’ advice seldom paid heed to
The council is responsible for advising the UT administration on development issues and policy matters affecting the city. But critics say, its advice is seldom listened to or acted on; advice of the members is sought on the same issues again and again.
Council members are the city’s prominent residents including current and former members of parliament, mayor, resident and business associations’ representatives, among others. In addition, all senior UT officials–(adviser, home secretary, finance secretary, deputy commissioner, etc) attend the meetings.
Issues related to traffic congestion, including the mass rapid transport system (MRTS), construction of an outer ring road and another route to the Chandigarh International Airport, have been deliberated upon on several occasions, but with no concrete results came out.
For instance, the issue of MRTS came up for discussion the first time in 2010. Thereafter, it has been a regular feature at the council meetings. In the latest meeting too, it was part of the agenda through its sub-committee on transport.
Similarly, views of the members have been repeatedly sought on “alternative route to Panchkula”.
Another solution to decongest the city’s traffic, a ring road, has been featuring regularly in recent meetings. Improving public transport, particularly last mile connectivity, has been discussed and suggestions given several times in the past.
Issues on industry such as conversion of leasehold property to freehold, rationalisation of charges of floor area ratio and collector rates have been brought up time and again, but not much has changed on the ground. For instance, the issue of collector rate rationalisation that came up in the latest meeting was debated over in 2014 as well.
Other such recycled issues include extension of the lal dora and regularisation of construction outside it (featuring since 2010), banning of hookah bars in the city, expanding city’s parking infrastructure, shifting of the grain market from Sector 26 to Sector 39, expanding health facilities in residential areas and the Apartment Act.
On a few occasions though, the administration has acted on the advice of the members and taken concrete decisions on the ground. For instance, the proposal for a “cattle village” was taken in a 2011 meeting, and after members disagreed to it, the administration took a decision to scrap the plan. Similarly, the issue of dedicated cycle tracks in the city, a regular agenda between 2010-2014, is a reality now.
‘Admn should notify action taken’
Sanjay Tandon, senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader and a regular at the council meetings for more than a decade, said, “It is understandable that policy issues take time to finalise. But on other issues, the administration should decide on merit and stop bringing these issues up repeatedly. They should at least share what happens to recommendations of the sub-committees and members.”
Charanjiv Singh, president of the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal, said, “The advisory council is being used not to take decisions but delay them. Discussions take place on the same issues and public demands without any concrete results coming out of them.”