Former Railways Minister and Chandigarh MP Pawan Kumar Bansal on Wednesday expressed his opposition to the naming of Mullanpur as New Chandigarh. The four-time Lok Sabha MP from the city said that he was not in favour of the decision which seemed as a move to attract investment in real estate. He also opposed the haphazard growth in the citys peripheral areas.
Bansal was speaking at the Idea Exchange programme held at The Indian Express Chandigarh office on Wednesday. This is Bansals third consecutive term as the MP of the city. Prior to this he was the MP in 1991 and before that was in the Rajya Sabha.
The naming of Mullanpur as New Chandigarh was earlier been opposed by Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda. He had termed the move as ethically incorrect. In fact,the decision of the Punjab government had ruffled feathers in the city with most people seeing it as a move to attract NRIs to invest in real estate at Mullanpur. It is felt that if proper infrastructure is not developed,the pressure for providing basic amenities would fall on Chandigarh.
Bansal said,I am not in favour of naming Mullanpur as New Chandigarh. Does it mean that this one has become old and that is the new one? It is merely for the purpose of realty speculation.
When questioned on whether Punjab Governor should also be UT Administrator as is the current practice,Bansal said that it does not matter and the post is held as per the provisions in the Constitution.
For good governance in the city there is a need for devolving more powers to the municipalities. In Chandigarh we do not have any other democratic medium. The Mayor-in-Council system should be introduced. Two to three councillors can assist the Mayor and hold some charges. The Mayors term being of one year is not enough. However,this is the system we have here with the Mayor changing every year, he added.
Bansal said that there have been advantages and disadvantages to Chandigarh for being the capital of both Punjab and Haryana. He said that both the states bicker over Chandigarh for the sake of it. However,both want status quo to be maintained.
He added that the haphazard growth around Chandigarh is putting extreme pressure on the infrastructure here. He said that no construction should come up in the vicinity of the city. Instead,good counter magnets to the city should have been built. At least 25 more cities like Chandigarh should have come up in the country.
Over the years the areas in the citys periphery have witnessed unregulated growth mostly comprising of residential areas. With no basic amenities like proper educational institutes or healthcare facilities being present,the burden is falling on Chandigarh.