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Chandigarh councillors fail to use funds, even as wards cry for attention

Apathy 22 of 25 elected councillors fail to spend their allocated ward development fund of Rs 40 lakh; former mayor Arun Sood has not spent a single penny

punjab Updated: Nov 13, 2017 14:56 IST
Hillary Victor
Hillary Victor
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Chandigarh,Chandigarh councillors,wards cry for attention
Former mayor Arun Sood, councillor from ward number 8 (Sectors 37, 38 and 38 (W) has not spent a single penny.(HT File )

In what can only be described a negligence and inability to plan for the development of the city, 22 of 25 elected councillors in the city have failed to use their ward development fund of Rs 40 lakh this year — from January 1 to November 12. Former mayor Arun Sood, councillor from ward number 8 (Sectors 37, 38 and 38 (W) has not spent a single penny. This is even as the condition of wards has deteriorated on all parameters, with some lacking the most basic of amenities, like dustbins.

Another former mayor Raj Bala Malik has spent a mere Rs 2 lakh out of total Rs 40 lakh. To spend the funds, councillors have to submit a proposal to the MC chief engineer. The amount of Rs 40 lakh is for a calendar year and whatever the councillors fail to spend is carried forward the next year.

“As of now, there are no proposals from councillors who are laggards in spending,” said an official with the MC engineering department.

Nine councillors have spent less than 50% of allocation

Nine councillors have spent less than Rs 20 lakh, while six has spent less than Rs 30 lakh, seven councillors have spent less than Rs 40 lakh. Against the trend, Mahesh Inder Singh from ward number 1, has spent Rs 42 lakh. City mayor Asha Kumari Jaswal has spent Rs 43 lakh and senior deputy mayor Rajesh Gupta has spent Rs 42 lakh.

The wards of most councillors, who spent less than Rs 10 lakh are crying for attention. The residents say, parks, roads are in bad shape, street lights are non-functional.

“Arun Sood has completely ignored our ward (Sectors 37, 38 and 38 (west). Most parks are in bad shape, roads are broken and encroachments have increased manifold, but our councillor is least bothered. Sewerage system in colonies is worst and stray cattle menace continues on roads. In main market of Sector 37-C, there is no dustbin installed,” claimed Rajesh Sharma, who contested elections against Sood in December 2016.

President of Resident Welfare Association, Sector 15, Surinder Sharma, said it was a mistake to elect Raj Bala Malik as their councillor.

“After winning the elections, she has not visited our ward. On the other hand, parks in bad shape, sanitation condition has gone bad to worse and encroachment is everywhere,” he said.

How has the mayor fared

Apart from the mandated ward development fund, functionaries like the mayor Asha Jaswal, senior deputy mayor Rajesh Gupta and deputy mayor Anil Kumar Dubey get additional resources. The mayor, who gets an additional Rs 2 cr has spent Rs 1.9 crore with she using the entire Rs 40 lakh. Senior deputy mayor Gupta has also spent more than his allocated Rs 40 lakh. Out of the additional Rs 20 lakh he got, he did not spend a penny. Deputy mayor Anil Dubey used Rs 29 lakh of Rs 40 lakh; of his additional Rs 10 lakh, he got due to his position, he has spent Rs 6 lakh.

First Published: Nov 13, 2017 14:54 IST