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Patiala mayor allows ‘protégé’ to attend F&CC meeting, courts controversy

Mayor Bittu says no rule broken as he exercised one of his special powers to allow his protégé Harvinder Singh Nippy to attend the meet as special invitee

punjab Updated: Feb 23, 2018 18:01 IST
Patiala news,Patiala municipal corporation,controversy
As per Section 42 (2), the F&CC includes seven members — the mayor, senior deputy mayor, deputy mayor, two elected councillors, commissioner and joint commissioner.(HT FILE)

The municipal corporation (MC) courted a controversy on its maiden finance and contract committee (F&CC) meeting, after mayor Sanjeev Sharma Bittu allowed ‘protégé’ to attend the meeting as permanent ‘special invitee’.

Councillor from ward number 50, Harvinder Singh Nippy, not only attended the meeting, but actively participated in discussion over the agenda of the meeting.

The Punjab MC did not carry any provision for allowing special invitees to attend F&CC meeting. As per Section 42 (2), the F&CC includes seven members, the mayor, senior deputy mayor, deputy mayor, two elected councillors, commissioner and joint commissioner.

Sources in the corporation said being ex-officio chairman of the committee, the mayor shot-off a letter to MC commissioner and other members of the committee, dictating that Nippy will attend all F&CC meetings, including the one on February 20.

“This is for the first time in the past three tenures that the trend of special invitees came to fore. If the mayor really wanted his close associate to be part of the committee, he (Nippy) should have been nominated as an active member of the committee,” a senior councillor said.

Last week, mayor Bittu appointed councillors Anil Kumar Garg from ward number 24 and Harwinder Shukla from ward number 2 as members of the F&CC.

When contacted, the mayor said “There is no violation of any type, as being the chairman of the committee, I have certain powers and I have exercised one of those in this case.”

“Nippy is a senior councillor of the party and must be given prime importance in corporation committees,” he added.

However, when asked about the special powers, he failed to give a satisfactory response.

Nod to parking space, upgrade of Bhupindra road in Rs 1.5 crore

Further, the F&CC gave its nod for development of parking space and upgrade Bhupindera road in Rs 1.5 crore. Another Rs 1 crore have been sanctioned for other development works.

The mayor said the public works department has been asked to transfer Rs 2.5 crore to begin the work at the earliest.

He said that in the first phase, a 1.5-km stretch on Bhupindra Road from Leela Bhawan to the university will get a facelift. It will be developed as a ‘model road’ with beautification, creation of parking space and levelling of road.

“The permissions have been already taken from the forest department for the development of systemised parking space on both sides of the road, for which the forest department has already been paid Rs 5 lakh,” Bittu said.

Bhupindra road is one of the main roads of the city, having commercial and residential colonies. However, due to shortage of parking space, the area witnesses traffic congestion.

First Published: Feb 23, 2018 18:01 IST