Defunct streetlights in Chandigarh: 97% complaints from sectors south of Madhya Marg
North-south divide? Out of 3,752 complaints, MC helpline receives only 164 from Sectors 1 to 10; data from past 11 months shows complaints move in increasing order from north to southpunjab Updated: Nov 22, 2017 16:04 IST
Complaints about non-functioning streetlights increase as you move from north to south even as the UT administration has made a strong pitch for bridging the “north-south divide”.
However, official data shows that the northern side, Sectors 1 to 10, enjoy a certain privilege as complaints from here run into single digits. The municipal corporation helpline ‘155304’ has received 97% complaints from the south of Madhya Marg in the last 11 months (January 1 to November 20). The areas with maximum complaints are Sectors 19, 22, 41, 44 and 51.
According to information, the total number of complaints received from Sectors 1 to 56 were 3,752, of which only 164 were from Sectors 1 to 10. Hereon, the complaints move in an increasing order with 465 from Sectors 11 to 19, 810 from Sectors 20 to 30, 1,113 from Sectors 31 to 40, and 1,200 from Sectors 41 to 56.
Even if population difference is taken into account, the number of complaints is an indicator that there is a stark difference in how MC officials treat the two sides.
Baljinder Singh Bittu, chairman, Federation of Sector Welfare Associations Chandigarh (FOSWAC), said, “Officials don’t even keep a check on the condition of streetlights in southern sectors. But when it comes to the northern sectors, they are more than vigilant as VVIPs live there. They make constant rounds of the sectors, repair glitches in a flash and try their best to keep complaints at bay.”
Senior officials said they took active steps over the past five years to obtain a first-hand feel of infrastructure and facilities available in southern sectors and peri-urban areas.
Vinod Aggarwal, chairman, MC electricity committee, said, “I am going to meet officers this week and check why this is happening. I have not seen the records yet, but I am aware that a majority of the streetlights in southern sectors are non-functional.”
However, even with an amenity as basic as functional streetlights, the divide persists and the bias is as clear as ever.
Chandigarh mayor Asha Kumari Jaswal said, “I am aware of this and have already held several meetings with the officers and told them to focus more on the southern sectors. We do not want that the northern sectors should be neglected, but will work more in the southern sectors.”