The Municipal Corporation (MC) House Monday held that the CBI report on the ‘Uppal housing scam’ be placed before the House and a criminal case lodged against all the four officials indicted in the CBI inquiry. Councillor Subhash Chawla said that reports of inquiries into the scam, including the one done by the CBI, had been submitted to the UT administration, but the matter was being “constantly” hushed up.
Councillor Satish Kainth has been reportedly taking up the matter the last four years. Questions over whether 15 per cent of the EWS flats (a total of 25 flats) were indeed constructed in the Uppal Housing project in Manimajra still remain. In 2005, the Delhi-based Uppal Housing Project Company had got a 5.39-acre plot in Manimajra for Rs 108 crore in an auction for the housing project. As per the occupation certificate issued by the SDO (Buildings), estate office, Chandigarh, 25 EWS houses were constructed which comes to 15% of the total number of dwelling units. But the MC team that inspected the site stated that it was not sure whether these were EWS houses as per originally approved building plans sanctioned by the UT estate office.
Joint Commissioner Rajiv Gupta told the House that they had sent various communications to the UT estate office and Uppal Housing in connection with the status of the EWS flats, but no reply had been received till date.
There was a debate in the House for at least an hour. Mayor Arun Sood placed the suggestion of forming a committee to discuss the matter with the MC commissioner. However, councillors stated that many committees had already been formed and they wanted action now.
On whether any recovery was possible, Joint Commissioner Rajiv Gupta said that the clause mentioned no point of recovery, but of resumption. Congress councillor Subhash Chawla said that the CBI in its report had indicted many officials, but there had been no action against them.
Saying that the administration was just sitting over the CBI report, the House concluded that it could ask for the report from the administration, place it before the House and later lodge a criminal case under section 420 in the matter.
In September 2011, the MC had issued a showcause notice to the Uppal Housing Project after a report by the former MC Joint Commissioner had found that the EWS houses had not been constructed according to revised building plans. According to the report, the company had submitted a revised building plan for 25 EWS houses, but did not construct the buildings accordingly. But in 2012, the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation had withdrawn the notice.
Former Congress councillor Chandermukhi was the first one to raise the issue in 2011. He had also demanded action against the MC officials involved.
Ruckus over construction of toilets
When the agenda of construction of toilets in 17 green belts came up, Congress councillor Subhash Chawla said that there were hundreds of residents in colonies in his ward without toilets and the MC was ‘wasting’ money on toilets in green belts. The executive engineer concerned then informed the Mayor that they inspected the site but there was no space to construct toilets. After arguments on the matter, the Mayor said that the agenda of toilets in colonies might come up in the next House meeting. He also said that he would be going to Chawla’s ward in the coming two to three days to see the condition. Chawla added that the MC had fudged the data of open defecation in Swacch Sarvekshan.
Microcell installation on electricity poles by RJIL deferred
The House Monday deferred the agenda of allowing RJIL to install low-power 4G equipment, also called microcell, on the electricity poles which come under its jurisdiction. Under this scheme, a small electronic unit with its accessories will be installed on the existing and new electricity poles. The RJIL has requested permission for the installation of microcells on approximately 500 street poles. The company was ready to pay Rs 500 per pole per month as rent with an annual increase by 5 per cent. However, the matter was deferred when councillors and the Mayor discussed that there might be many other companies offering more.