Old wine in a new bottle. That is how the first general house meeting of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation held on Friday can be described.
As the zero hour started, Mayor Gohalwaria announced 2 minutes each for every speaker. Ward number 8 independent councillor Daljit Singh Grewal alias Bhola sparked off a row with the Mayor as he started discussing the old issues and asked if the Mayor really ‘respects’ him as a councillor.
“Do you really think I am an elected representative? I need an answer Mayor sir,” asked Bhola. To which the mayor replied, ‘Yes.’
“I don’t think so because you are making a mockery of democracy. In last house meeting too, I requested you to inform area councillor before you come to their ward but you came to my ward and inaugurated projects without me,” said Bhola.
Mayor said, “I don’t think I am answerable to you and I am not interested in answering meaningless questions.” Still Bhola, continued to raise his voice urging police men to protect the Mayor to avoid any physical clash. “The Mayor came to my ward and inaugurated a sewerage project worth Rs 3 crore under JNNURM with MLA Ranjit Singh Dhillon because he is from the Akali Dal, his own party.
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Later, he misguided people by saying that the project was under the state government and thus independent MLAs cannot be invited. The state has given only 20% funds while rest are from the Centre and MC. Is this democracy,” asked Bhola.
Mayor said, “Be it Congress, Akali Dal or anyone I go wherever I am invited. It is you who never invite me to your ward then why should I come?”
Meanwhile, councillor Narinder Kala said that the MC has failed to solve the issue of waterlogging in underpasses and is ready to spent 90 crore on new underpasses. To this Sumit Jarangal, additional commissioner replied, “We are planning to make rainwater harvesting wells in all underpasses which will solve the waterlogging issue. It is the only option keeping in view the proposed Metro lines which will cross them.”
Raghbir Singh another councillor alleged that seven people in his ward are suffering from throat cancer due to poor quality of water. “Four people have already died while three more are serious, I need an answer from the Mayor,” he said. Councillor Jai Prakash said that tehbazaari team without even discussing throws religious hoardings instead of handing them properly to owners to which Kalia said, “It will be taken care of in future.” While 53 of 75 councillors attended the meeting, none of the MLAs were present.