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Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Chandigarh councillors’ grouse: ‘News reports on ward funds are damning and defaming’

Councillors have a ward development fund of Rs 80 lakh and now after getting a special grant from the UT Administration, each one of them has got Rs 1 crore each extra.

Written by Hina Rohtaki | Chandigarh | Published: November 27, 2019 10:10:27 am
Chandigarh councillors’ grouse: ‘News reports on ward funds are damning and defaming’ During MC House meeting in Chandigarh on Tuesday. (Express Photo: Kamleshwar Singh)

Irked by criticism over ward development fund remaining unused, certain BJP councillors stated that “news reports have caused great embarrassment with people taunting us”. They questioned the officers as to who leaked out the information in public domain.

Those who were affected by the media reports on ward development fund remaining under-utilised were Asha Jaswal, Gurpreet Dhillon and Farmila. Councillors have a ward development fund of Rs 80 lakh and now after getting a special grant from the UT Administration, each one of them has got Rs 1 crore each extra.

Speaking in the General House on Tuesday, Asha Jaswal said, “Log phone karke keh rahe hain, 80 lakh pehle tha, aur ab 1 crore aur mil gaya. achchhi si gadi lelo ab to. Shehar mein badnami ho chuki hai. (People are calling up and saying that you already had Rs 80 lakh and now you have received Rs 1 crore more. Buy a new lavish car now. We have got a bad name).”

BJP councillor Gurpreet Dhillon questioned how the information went out in the press.

“I don’t understand how these details went out. I did not even get to know when the additional Rs 40 lakh funds came and it was counted as Rs 77 lakh pending in my ward,” he said. “Why doesn’t the press publish the positive work?” He added that whenever he contacted officers to get works done in his ward, they stated that there was a shortage of funds with them.

Another BJP councillor, Farmila, said that “such reports” lead to defaming them in the eye of general public.

“My name was right at the front when the issue of ward development fund was raised in the media,” she said.

On this, Commissioner K K Yadav said that “they ought to ensure transparency and why do they want to conceal the public document when nothing is wrong?”

“These are just facts and public documents. Why do we need to conceal as if we have done something wrong? And yes, I am again saying no ward development fund has been stalled in any ward, that too on the contention that there are no funds. No one was told about the fund issue and all works are being carried out,” Yadav stated.

BJP councillor Heera Negi and Davesh Moudgil went against their fellow councillors stating that “they cannot direct the media what to write and what not to write”.

Moudgil said, “We cannot expect the media to write positive (things) all the time. Moreover, we are doing our job and they are doing theirs.”

Mayor Rajesh Kalia too supported them saying that “when things are out in the media, it helps them work at a faster speed”.

“I was the one whose Rs 1.01 crore was shown pending in the news reports. The moment the stories came,

I immediately called up officials to give approval and begin work as soon as possible. So in a way the criticism helped me,” Kalia said.

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