As political stalwarts make promises umpteen to woo voters in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections,Chandigarh Newsline quizzes three prominent candidates in fray from the state. While Congress candidate and sitting MP Pawan Kumar Bansal and BJP candidate Satya Pal Jain have won the elections twice each,BSP candidate Harmohan Dhawan has been victorious once.
* What are your promises to the people of the city?
* What has been your most important contribution when you represented the city?
* Should the Centre restore the post of Chief Commissioner of UT?
* Should the Municipal Corporation be given more powers?
* What is your view on encroachments in the city?
Pawan Kumar Bansal (Congress)
* I promise to work for the people of Chandigarh with sincerity and dedication so as to bring about development and progress in the city and help itattain the status of a world-class city.
* With a 290 per cent increase in Plan Allocations (from Rs 168 crore in 2004-05 to Rs 488 crore in 2008-09),there has been an all-round improvement in the citys physical and social infrastructure. This includes wider roads with berm pavements,augmented health services,water and electricity supply,extended parking spaces and far reaching amendments in building by laws. The number of bank branches in Chandigarh has gone up from 226 to 281,while the number of ATMs has also grown from 16 to 135 in the last four years.
*Yes. The system of appointing the Governor of Punjab as Administrator of Union Territory,Chandigarh,was devised in 1984 to meet a peculiar situation prevailing at that time. That situation doesnt exist any more. A professional Administrator will be a better fit instead of a political appointee. As Chandigarh is a Union Territory,it should have an exclusive Administrator.
* Experience has shown that the performance of the Municipal Corporation has been better than ever before as evident from verdant parks,better roads and sanitation. There is every reason for devolving upon it all the functions provided in the Constitution. In fact,there is a case for introducing the Mayor-in-Council system with certain executive powers to enable the Municipal Corporation to veritably meet the democratic aspirations of the people.
* There should be zero tolerance shown towards new encroachments. While steps are now being taken to build nearly 25,000 EWS dwelling units with necessary civic amenities,there is also a need to allow more floor area and construct a larger number of LIG/MIG houses in the city.
Satya Pal Jain,Bharatiya Janata Party
* When elected,I will help Chandigarh realise the dream of being a City Really Beautiful. The focus will be on overall development and public participation in decision making will be ensured. The priority will be the setting up of Inter-State Development Council to look after the collective development of the tricity. Multi-storey and underground parking lots,flyovers as well as Metro services will be introduced. We will ensure a slum-free city. Also,I will never say that officials do not listen to me. I know how to make myself heard.
* I was an MP for nearly two and a half years. During this time,we got a number of projects approved. These include: Chandigarh-Ludhiana Railway Line,four-laning of the Chandigarh-Ambala road and a project worth Rs 6 crore for the development of the railway station. The Chandigarh Doordarshan Kendra was also established in the city.
* The post of Chief Commissioner was abolished when the Congress was in power. The Administration needs to be headed by an independent authority. For the common man,it does not make a difference if the Administrator or Chief Commissioner is heading the Administration as long as the political leadership is strong.
* The Municipal Corporation should be given more powers and I will ensure that happens. There should be a clear-cut division of functions between the Administration and Municipal Corporation. Some departments like Electricity and Roads should be handed over completely to the Municipal Corporation.
* No one should favour encroachments. Construction on government land is encroachment. The present government is,however,treating the changes made by people within their houses as well as construction on their own land as encroachments. Also,there needs to be another policy for the tea vendors,the cobblers and the barbers. Not all of them can be given booths in one part of the city.
Harmohan Dhawan,Bahujan Samaj Party
* Chandigarh is only state in the country which is revenue surplus. We generate a surplus of nearly Rs 670 crore per year,which goes to the Consolidated Fund of India. My first task will be to stop this outflow and use it for the development of the city. I will make Chandigarh an International tourist destination and also an Information Technology (IT) hub,which alongside the Tourism Industry will help create more jobs for the youth.
* I was an MP for 19 months and served as the Minister for Civil Aviation at the Centre for 4 months. During my tenure,I got the foundation stone laid for the Government Medical College and Hospital. The third Phase Augmentation Scheme of the Kajauli Water Works was started to remove the scarcity of water. Land was allotted to the Co-operative Housing Societies from Sector 48 to Sector 51. The poor were rehabilitated at Mauli Jagran. As many as 4,200 licences were issued to rehri and farhi vendors and permanent booths were assigned to them in various sectors.
* Yes,the post of Chief Commissioner should be restored.
* The Municipal Corporation is toothless and should be given more powers for making it an efficient democratic institution.
* I am against encroachments. All those politicians and officials responsible for it must be exposed and punished.