AFTER A hiatus of four years, the first open house organised by UT Administrator V P Singh Badnore at the UT Secretariat in Sector 9 evoked mixed response from residents. While some residents turned up uninvited and protested outside the entrance of UT Secretariat as they were denied entry, some went satisfied stating that the Administrator had assured them action on their grievances.
Badnore heard 41 individuals and groups regarding issues concerning Municipal Corporation, Estate Office, Deputy Commissioner’s Office, Health, Police, Education, Social Welfare and Chandigarh Housing Board. He asked the officers to submit an action taken report within 10 days and said he would hold a review meeting on all the issues taken up.
Most of those who participated in the open house had already sought an appointment with the Administrator. Badnore then decided to call all of them in the open house. Around 11 am, a few other residents also came to the secretariat with their problems but they were stopped at the entrance stating that they couldn’t meet the Administrator as they were not invited.
Malvinder Ladi Pannu, who had come to raise civic issues at Maloya, sat just outside the entrance protesting as to why the open house was not open to people. “I read in the paper today that the Administrator is holding the Janta Darbar so I also came with my problems. Why didn’t they give a public notice telling that this Janta Darbar was only for special people who have been invited? This can’t be called a Janta Darbar or an open house when residents are not being allowed to enter,” Pannu said. He wanted to highlight problems of low water pressure and non-functional streetlights at Maloya colony.
Similarly, 68-year-old Beer Singh, who came to raise the property issue of his house, too protested when denied entry. “I went to get my pass made but the officials there said that you can’t meet the Administrator because there are specific invitees only,” he said. Later, after these residents staged a protest, a communication from the Administrator’s office came stating that they all be allowed to enter and he would listen to their problems as well. Then one by one they were called upstairs where all the senior officers along with Badnore were sitting.
Dyal Krishan and Deepak Arora, residents of Dadumajra, highlighted the problem of dumping ground at Dadumajra. Arora told the Administrator that the stench was so strong that nobody could stand there for 10 minutes. As the residents brought photographs along with them, Badnore immediately asked Municipal Commissioner Jitender Yadav to look into the matter on a priority basis as residents were facing trouble.
Members of Chandigarh Beopar Mandal also met the Administrator and highlighted the issue of construction of first floor on single-storey bay shops and booths, permission of general trade in the upper floors and basements of the commercial buildings without conversion charges. The issue of earmarking vendor zones at vacant spaces, which are at a distance from the markets, was also taken up. He said that sectors 17, 19 and 22 be declared vendor-free zones.
Badnore told them that as there were many important issues, he will hold a separate meeting with CBM.
Members from Akhil Bhartiya Aggarwal Sangathan too met the Administrator and told him that there was a cowshed at Maloya which had no provision for food for 600 cows there. Other issues of Lal Dora, high transfer fee in CHB flats were also taken up.
In a release issued in the evening, it was stated that the Administrator emphasised that holding such meetings will be formalised as this is a good medium to know the genuine grievances of citizens of Chandigarh and seek suggestions from them. “Such interactive meetings with the citizens also create a high sense of responsibility among the officers of Chandigarh Administration in the right direction,” the release said.