MAYOR ASHA Jaswal came under fire from her own party councillors over the proposed budget of Rs 1,005 crore in the special budget meeting in Chandigarh on Thursday. The councillors were asked to give suggestions on the budget when BJP councillor Davesh Moudgil said that it should have been a “budget with a vision”. However, following arguments, the MC House passed the budget. Moudgil said that the budget allocated for sanitation was very less and the situation of sanitation in the city had gone from bad to worse.
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“I request the Commissioner to review the mechanised sweeping project because no machine is working and the condition is really bad. For the construction of Sehaj Safai Kendras, we have just allocated Rs 10 lakh. Even one SSK cannot be constructed in Rs 10 lakh. There is no mention of solar energy, which is the need of the hour,” said Moudgil.
He said that there was no proper public participation in the budget as there were suggestions from only three people. Former mayor Arun Sood said that despite working on the plastic-to-fuel plant last year, there was no mention of it in the budget. There was nothing about improving the system at the Dadumajra dumping ground.
“I really feel bad for the residents of Dadumajra. The condition is so bad there. We should have made some provision for it in the budget,” Sood said. Area councillor of Dadumajra Rajesh Kalia said that if any official of the MC visited, they could not even stay there for a few minutes because of the stink and the flies, and nothing was being done to improve the condition. He alleged that the officials had stopped spraying chemicals there.
The councillors raised the problem of bad roads, erratic water supply and sanitation. Of the Rs 1,005 crore, Rs 339 crore will be under the capital head while Rs 666 crore have been allocated under the revenue head, which includes recurring expenses such as employees’ salaries. The Congress councillors, too, raised questions on the budget.
Congress councillor Devinder Singh Babla said that the budget was like “old wine in a new bottle” and it was totally unrealistic. The civic body had failed to get any new project this time. On this, former mayor Arun Sood said that it was the Congress which made “the wine old and stink in the same bottle for 15 years”. Congress councillor Gurbax Rawat said that last time the budget for the recarpeting of roads was Rs 70 crore and now it had been brought down to Rs 45 crore. “By this, do we presume that the condition of roads in the city has improved even when the actual situation is bad?” asked Rawat.
Municipal Commissioner Baldeo Purushartha expressed concern over the financial condition of the civic body and said that there was a need to increase the source of income, else development would be stopped. Congress councillor Babla said that MC should auction its vacant properties and not put financial burden on people. He said that they would oppose new taxes.