Free water, free parking on new Chandigarh mayor’s agenda - Hindustan Times
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Free water, free parking on new Chandigarh mayor’s agenda

By, Chandigarh
Mar 05, 2024 09:44 AM IST

The AAP had promised the two freebies to city residents before the 2021 MC elections. But as the party failed to post its councillor on the ‘mayor’ for two years, it couldn’t bring forth the agenda.

Ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, the newly appointed Chandigarh mayor Kuldeep Kumar Dhalor, who owes allegiance to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), will present two agendas—20,000 litres of water free-of-cost to each household every month and free parking for all in city markets—in the special house meeting called on March 7.

Chandigarh mayor Kuldeep Kumar Dhalor, who owes allegiance to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), will present two agendas—20,000 litres of water free-of-cost to each household every month and free parking for all in city markets—in the special house meeting called on March 7 (HT File)
Chandigarh mayor Kuldeep Kumar Dhalor, who owes allegiance to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), will present two agendas—20,000 litres of water free-of-cost to each household every month and free parking for all in city markets—in the special house meeting called on March 7 (HT File)

The AAP had promised the two freebies to city residents before the 2021 MC elections. But as the party failed to post its councillor on the ‘mayor’ for two years, it couldn’t bring forth the agenda.

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“Among others, the two important agendas will be free water supply and free parking in the city. We are proposing 20,000 litres of free water to each household in Chandigarh, every month, and the charges will be levied after the fixed quantity. Chandigarh is the capital of Punjab, which holds significance in providing water to all. If AAP can provide free water in Punjab and Delhi, why not in Chandigarh? AAP is committed to the welfare of the people,” said Dhalor, adding that a special house meeting will be called on March 7.

Dhalor added, “AAP’s second promise—free parking in MC’s paid parking lots, will also be fulfilled. Our agendas will hit MC’s revenue but we have other plans to increase funds for the civic body. We will soon come up with good ideas. And, I am hopeful that for the betterment of the city and its residents, BJP councillors will also support us in providing these facilities.”

The party had first tabled the agenda for ‘zero bill for consumption of upto 20,000 litres of water’ in November 2022 but the agenda was not passed and was in limbo since then.

‘A bumpy ride for MC with revenue loss’

The cash-strapped Chandigarh municipal corporation is already staring at another challenging year with the Union government allocating it a grant-in-aid of only 560 crore for the financial year 2024-25, a sharp cut from its demand of 1,651 crore.

With its annual committed liabilities alone standing at around 500 crore, the MC has to increase its revenue to meet the shortfall to maintain essential civic services, including roads, water supply, waste disposal and sewerage.

“At present, the MC is generating revenue of 10 crore from water bills every month. If 20,000 litres of water becomes non-chargeable, it will cost around 3 crore every month to MC. The revenue per month will dip to 7 crore or even less. From parking, we are earning around 1 crore every month. AAP can keep its promises but they should think of revenue generation options first,” said a MC official.

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