A public park in Phase 9 (Sector 63) has been reduced in size to carve out parking space next to former MP Balwant Singh Ramoowalia’s house. The Municipal Corporation has carved out the park only from one side acting on a proposal from District Planning Committee Chief Amanjot Kaur Ramoowalia, who is Ramoowalia’s daughter.
Amanjot said that it has been done for the convenience of the neighbours and the public as my father’s house is thronged by visitors for whom there was no parking space earlier.
While one side of the park has been shortened, the immediate area adjoining the house (House No. 53) was reduced a bit further, to create space for a vehicle. A Maruti Gypsy (PB 07 AA 4888) used by the owners of the house is usually seen parked in that space.
MC officials said the an expenditure of around Rs 3.5 lakh was incurred to create the extra parking space. Although most parks are maintained by the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA), the outer pavement and railings are maintained by the MC.
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Executive Engineer Mukesh Garg, when asked about the Phase 9 park, said, “I will find out and definitely let you know why it was done.” Later, he said, “I did not realise you were a mediaperson. I am not authorised to speak to the media. You must talk to senior officials.”
Additional Commissioner (Technical) B D Singla said, “It is not the only park where the length is being reduced. People all over the town are facing parking problems and the MC has floated tenders to reduce the area of around 20-25 parks to create the space. The particular park was shortened on the directions of the Planning Committee chief.”
Justifying the decision, Amanjot said, “Our vehicles are always parked inside the house. It is for the convenience of the visitors and the neighbours that the extra space was created. It is being done all over the town. In this particular park, the boundary railing was also damaged so we had it repaired.”
An MC official said, “There are several parks which are being reduced in size. But in no other park have we created space specifically for a vehicle. And the parks are usually shortened from all four sides.”
A resident of Phase 9, not wishing to be named, said, “What weird explanations are they giving? In our country, people do not get food to eat and houses to live. Here we have the local body spending public money catering to parking space outside a politician’s house. Tomorrow, if I claim that many guests visit me and they need space to park their vehicles, will the MC do the same thing for me too? The MC should concentrate on repairing street-lights and mending broken roads.”
Former MP Balwant Singh Ramoowalia said, “We have not encroached an inch of land in that area. No park was shortened after we bought the house.”