MORE THAN 50 per cent of special funds given by UT Administrator V P Singh Badnore for urgent development works are now at the disposal of the councillors.
For, a few days after UT Administrator V P Singh Badnore announced a special grant to the cash-starved Chandigarh Municipal Corporation, Mayor Rajesh Kalia announced that every councillor will get Rs 1 crore each from this fund to get works done in their ward as per their discretion. This way, a whopping Rs 26 crore of the Rs 50 crore meant for development works will go to the councillors who will spend these as per their will.
In the General House meeting that was held on Thursday, Mayor Rajesh Kalia said, “Every councillor can get works done according to him with this Rs 1 crore each which will be given to all. Now with this amount, he or she may get 10 works done or just one work done. It will be entirely up to them and as per their will.”
This “distribution of funds” has been done even when the civic body is struggling to carry out important development works due to shortage of funds.
This amount of Rs 1 crore each to all of them is just out of this fund given by the administration. This amount will be spent over and above Rs 40 lakh each given for ward development fund this year, which has also been enhanced to Rs 80 lakh each a few months ago.
The chairman of the Federation of Sectors Welfare Association of Chandigarh, Baljinder Singh Bittu, said, “There are so many development works that need to be carried out and these people are just splurging public money by leaving this amount at the disposal of the councillors. What kind of works do they carry out other than replacing good-conditioned pavers or tiles and open-air gyms?”
The councillors had demanded that their ward development fund be increased to Rs 1 crore each. But the Administrator put it on hold as the ward development fund had recently been enhanced to Rs 80 lakh each.
When it comes to spending by the councillors, it is either on pavers, tiles or toe walls. This splurging of public money comes at a time when the civic body has been dealing with a financial crunch and several other issues require redressal.
It was last Friday when V P Singh Badnore had announced that Rs 50 crore for roads, Rs 50 crore for urgent development works, Rs 38 crore for water storage tanks and Rs 14 crore, which is to be paid to the Punjab government for Kajauli waterworks.