Chandigarh Mayor Arun Sood of BJP has lately been facing major flak for courting controversies by taking decisions without consulting other elected representatives at the UT Administration.
Sood’s “rash” decisions, be it allowing conversion of a green belt near a school into a parking lot or closure of two parking lots at Sector 17 in Chandigarh, has left the party red-faced, forcing him to take u-turns. He was even slammed by BJP councillors for not including the name of BJP MP Kirron Kher in the documentary film made on Chandigarh Municipal Corporation.
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The decision to close down two parking lots in Sector 17 — Sahib Singh and Empire Store — in order to run the multi-level parking was marked by a series of protests by the traders.
Against this decision, eight BJP Councillors came out in the open and submitted a representation to the commissioner to roll back the decision.
Senior BJP leader Harmohan Dhawan openly spoke against Mayor Arun Sood and termed the decision of closing the parking lots his individual decision. Sood was forced to roll back the decision after traders intensified the protest.
“ Sood is acting like a dictator in the city. All decisions taken by him so far have been anti-people. His own BJP councillors have been going against all his decisions,”said city Congress chief Pardeep Chhabra, adding that all this would impact BJP’s position in the coming polls. The move to build a parking lot by converting a green belt near Vivek High School in Sector 38 also invited criticism from all quarters including residents of his own ward.
After protests at the MC building and a signature campaign against the Mayor, the latter then decided to hold a meeting where he reverted his decision.
Sood, however, justified all his decisions. “The decision to shut down the parking lots was right. Re-opening of both the parking lots has put on stake a Rs 50-crore multi-level parking area. The municipal corporation is incurring a monthly loss of Rs 8.5 lakh,”said Sood. About the green belt issue and the MC documentary film, Sood said, “In the green belt issue, a representation by 184 residents was given to the administration. When I got a representation by 500 residents later, I took the decision in their favour. About the documentary film, it is the MP’s prerogative if she is unavailable to give the message and not my fault.”
Sood said that his developmental works were being overlooked. “What Congress could not do in 15 years, I did it in nine months. Chandigarh was declared ODF today. There are 1000 toilets in the city now. We will soon have a waste to power processing plant. Citizen charter and the work of an under-pass at Manimajra has been initiated. All this they dont see,” said Sood.