Chandigarh’s great divide: South fumes over civic mess, while North has nothing to complain about
The North-South divide in the City Beautiful becomes clear on analysing this year’s data on number of civic complaints made to the MC helpline.punjab Updated: May 21, 2018 14:21 IST
Even as southern sectors are facing an acute water shortage for the past three months, it seems northern sectors that have been “privileged” ever since the city’s inception have nothing to complain about.
Be it water supply, sanitation issues, poor lighting on streets or bad roads, only a negligible number of complaints received by the civic body are from northern sectors. According to official data from January 1 to May 10 this year, the municipal corporation (MC) helpline number 155304 received over 90% complaints from residents of sectors south of Madhya Marg. The worst affected are
Sectors 33, 35, 41, 42, 44, 45 and 46.
Meanwhile, complaints from sectors north of Madhya Marg — that house ministers, senior bureaucrats and big industrialists — are not even in double digits. Even accounting for the difference in population density, the large volume of complaints expose the difference treatment meted out to the North and South in Chandigarh.
Skewed distribution of water
An MC survey in 2014 revealed that there is a skewed distribution of water between northern and southern sectors. While residents of northern sectors, including 2, 3, 4, 5 and 9, were drawing 1,000 litres per capita per day (LPCD), those in Sectors 33, 34, 35, 36 and 49 were drawing only 400 LPCD.
As a result, southern sectors continue to face shortage of water. Those living on first and second floors often complain of low pressure. At times, they don’t even receive a drop. Similarly, residents of southern sectors are at the receiving end when it comes to insanitation.
For long, the MC has been struggling to streamline garbage collection because of shortage of both manpower and equipment in southern sectors. However, the situation is much better in northern sectors, which are far cleaner.
“We have failed to understand that why is the UT administration depriving us of basic amenities,” said Hitesh Puri, executive member of the resident welfare association, Sector 43B. “Our ward tells the real story of underdevelopment with large heaps of garbage lying around, weeds growing in parks and non-functional streetlights.”
“It is unfortunate that despite our repeated requests, southern sectors are completely ignored by the UT administration and municipal corporation when it comes to provision of basic amenities,” said councillor Ravinder Kaur Gujral, who represents Ward No. 15 comprising Sectors 34, 35 and 44. “It is the result of bias on the part of officers and law makers.”
“I admit maximum complaints are from southern sectors. Higher population of these sectors is one of the reasons,” said mayor Davesh Moudgil. “As far as water shortage is concerned, the situation will improve once we get the additional 40 million gallons daily in a few months.”