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Chandigarh BJP councillors train guns at one another, parking issue takes a hit

BJP councillor Arun Sood then said that they can offer a proposal of Rs 5 and Rs 10 for two- and four-wheelers for first two hours and then up to four hours hiked rates shall be implemented. BJP councillor Asha Jaswal too favoured Sood.

Written by Hina Rohtaki | Chandigarh | Published: July 9, 2019 9:08:22 am
BJP councillors train guns at one another, parking issue takes a hit BJP councillor Arun Sood shows a copy of Chandigarh Newsline during MC house meeting in Sector 17, Chandigarh, on Monday. (Express photo: Kamleshwar Singh)

BJP COUNCILLORS wasted over four hours only in arguments and showing down each other over the issue of parking rates and the smart parking policy in a special house meeting on Monday. With no consensus emerging in the party which has a majority of councillors in the House and BJP councillor and Deputy Mayor Kanwarjeet Rana staging a walkout, it was decided to leave the decision over to the Member of Parliament now.

The House witnessed a Kher vs Tandon show on the issue as the Kher group favoured Rs 5 and Rs 10 flat rate for the whole day while the Tandon group wanted different slab rates — a mix of existing and hiked rates.  In the absence of a contractor, at present, MC is running the parking lots at flat rates and the agenda was to discuss a new contract with new rates.

Chairman of the parking committee Arun Sood first read what all recommendations they had come up with for the new parking contract and smart parking features. The recommendations about the parking rates consisted of three proposals — one the existing rates, second the hiked rates and third a mix of existing and hiked rates. Sood stated that having a flat rate of Rs 5 for two-wheelers and Rs 10 for four-wheelers for any number of hours was not a financially viable scenario and the civic body is also suffering from a financial crunch. “No contractor will come in such a project with flat rate. No one will offer smart parking facility in this rate. Jahan Modi ji new India ki baat kar rahe hain, hum yahan baba adam ke zamane ki parking mein dubara pohanch jaayen,” he said.

Deputy Mayor Kanwarjeet Rana got up stating that “Sood was concerned only about the benefit of a contractor and not general public that has elected them”. Rana said that their MP too had inspected the parking site and had asked the mayor and commissioner to roll back the hiked rates from Rs 10 to Rs 5 for two-wheelers and Rs 20 to Rs 10 for four-wheelers which are prevalent now and only these should continue.

Taking a jibe at Sood, BJP councillor Davesh Moudgil said that the “terms and conditions of this draft agreement were similar and he did not understand what was the difference between an organised parking and smart parking as specified here”.

The scenario was such that those councillors holding allegiance to MP Kirron Kher were sitting on one side together in a row while those holding allegiance to city BJP chief Sanjay Tandon were sitting on the other side.

Moudgil pointed out several things which he said were similarities between the “present and the previous faulty agreement”. To this, Sood said, “Last time you said you need time to read the agenda. But I feel you have not read it properly even today. Penalties have been made heavy and not relaxed penalties as specified earlier. Moreover, 66 changes have been made this time.”

Irked by Sood’s comments, Moudgil then said that he was addressing the chair and not anyone in particular. Moudgil also stated that it would be better if the civic body creates its own parking wing that manages the parking in the city instead of the contractor system as “they had already seen what kind of smart parking people got”.

During the arguments among BJP councillors, Congress councillors too walked out saying that they were not in favour of any hike and left the meeting. Heera Negi, another BJP councillor, said that if their proposal of flat rates is not accepted then even they would stage a walkout.

BJP councillor Arun Sood then said that they can offer a proposal of Rs 5 and Rs 10 for two- and four-wheelers for first two hours and then up to four hours hiked rates shall be implemented. BJP councillor Asha Jaswal too favoured Sood. Both hold allegiance to Tandon. But those from Kher’s group stated that they will not accept this at all because during election it was promised by the BJP that these parking rates shall not increase and having hiked rates will mean betrayal of people’s trust.

Seeing the councillors entering into heated arguments, MC Commissioner K K Yadav stated that the civic body running parking lots is not possible as everyone has already seen the efficiency in cleaning road gullies. Yadav stated that having a flat rate of Rs 5 and Rs 10 was not feasible at all as people should pay if they occupy MC land for some time. “Moreover, we cannot allow our electricians, horticulture wing and other technical staff to man parking lots,” he said.

“People are ready to pay any heavy amount for parking if they have to go to Elante mall but not nominal rates for occupying government land. No contractor will be able to give smart parking at flat rates for the whole day,” Yadav added.

As the dispute rose and no consensus reached, BJP councillor Anil Dubey then said, “Madam (MP Kirron Kher) ko aane do agle house mein, tab hi faisla karenge. Isse defer karo,” he said. Dubey must have repeated this line over five times. Finally, the House decided to defer the issue.

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