PAWAN Kumar Bansal, Congress MP and candidate for the Lok Sabha election, favours creation of a Chandigarh Capital Region, on the lines of the National Capital Region around Delhi, for integrated planning and development of the city and surrounding areas.
Bansal, who is eying a fourth consecutive term in the Lok Sabha, and a fifth overall, came up with the suggestion at an Idea Exchange programme held at The Indian Express office.
Elaborating on the idea, Bansal said, “Chandigarh is a small city, spread across a 114 sq kilometre area. So you cannot have every possible thing here. Chandigarh was not intended to be, and it is not a mega city. The suburbs, the adjoining satellite towns of Panchkula and Mohali combine to make it a mega town. Therefore, there are certain aspects of planning that have to be taken care of, keeping in view the Tricity. The proposed Metro fits in that.’’
As for improving the local administration, Bansal said he would work towards having a metropolitan council for Chandigarh, on the pattern of the one which Delhi had before it became a state. The metropolitan council, which will be above the municipal corporation, would consist of a chief executive councillor and three executive councillors.
All executive authority should rest with this council, except in the subjects of law and order, higher education and tertiary healthcare as well as the Master Plan for the entire territory where there is a need to enter into negotiations with other states. Functions that require involvement of the three governments of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh should remain with the UT Administration, he said.
If this was not possible, Bansal said he would work for a mayor-in-council system where the mayor, unlike now, is the chief executive, with two executive councillors assisting him.
Asked why this could not be achieved in the past, Bansal said that this was due to Parliament not functioning properly.
The MP said that though a lot had been done during his tenure, there were several development works that he wanted to get done in Chandigarh.