Mayor Rajesh Kalia and officials of the engineering wing seem to have a thing for paver blocks. No wonder they want to install paver blocks worth Rs 4.94 crore at places where such blocks already exist, and are in mint condition.
Chandigarh Newsline visited all the streets and lanes for which the mayor had requisitioned new paver blocks in his first MC House meeting only to find paver blocks already in place. In some lanes, residents said they had been laid only two to six months ago.
There were heaps of uprooted pavers as well with locals saying these will now be recycled as new.
The MC agenda that was passed on January 30, says paver blocks worth Rs 81.75 lakh are required in the lane in front of House No 3001 to 5334. Newsline found that not only was the lane lined with pavers, the blocks were in good shape and vehicles were plying smoothly on the street.
Similar was the state from House No 4043 to 6378 and at Gwalla Colony in Maloya and other streets for which the MC House had passed pavers worth Rs 1.09 crore, Rs 2.48 crore and Rs 55.76 lakh, respectively. The streets were in good condition and the pavers had been laid well.
Don’t need paver blocks: Locals
Residents of Maloya living in cramped houses with loose overhanging wires groused that the entire colony can get a makeover and “they will not be forced to live in hell” with the sum of Rs 5 crore that the Mayor plans to lavish on pre-existing pavers.
Pavers don’t figure anywhere in the list of problems faced by Maloya residents. The main roads connecting the colony, which is en route the bus stand and police station, are potholed to the extent that people have to look for a smooth patch. During rains, the potholes fill with slush. There is no proper sewerage system as a result of which the sewer water of the colony gets accumulated in open spaces in front of their houses. Even on dry days, the sewage raises a stench.
Uday Yadav, chairman of residents welfare association, says they don’t need replacement of something which is already in place. “I wonder what they are up to? At some places near the footpath, they took off the intact PCC tiles and installed new ones. All the PCC tiles they uprooted are stashed at one place near a corner here. In the garb of putting new pavers, they will reuse these old pavers and tiles, we know them,” he fumed.
Surinder Bhatia, another resident, said, “This is sheer wastage of money. They should instead make these internal streets of concrete because vehicles ply here.”
According to documents, pavers outside 291 houses 4043 to 5334 will be ‘laid again’ at a cost of Rs 81.75 lakh.
Superintending Engineer B and R, Sanjay Arora, did not comment when asked why a place which already has pavers needed more.
“The XEN concerned can tell you about it,” he demurred.
Executive engineer Dharmender’s number was initially switched off. Later, he did not take this reporter’s calls.
Junior Engineer of the area, Suresh Kumar, told Chandigarh Newsline that they got a communication from the area councillor (Kalia) and that is why they prepared the estimates.
“The area councillor told us that at most places, public health wing had done some pipeline work and levelling was required. He told us that pavers at some places had come off because of which we prepared these estimates,” the JE said.
Rebel councillor Satish Kainth alleged that this move “reeked of corruption”.
“I objected to this proposal and said that laying of paver blocks is against the UT directives, but the Mayor was hellbent upon getting the agenda passed even though the MC is short of funds,” Kainth said.
Congress councillor Devinder Singh Babla, however, also blamed officers.
“If the Mayor has asked for it, is it not the responsibility of the officials to apprise him about the reality. Are they not responsible for inquiring whether the place really needs pavers or not. Vigilance will hold them responsible and not the councillor. If Kalia is the Mayor, it doesn’t mean officials will do all that he says,” Babla added.
Another Rs 32.15 lakh on pavers
The Finance and Contract Committee meeting chaired by Mayor Kalia again approved a boundary wall and pavers worth Rs 32.15 lakh near the cremation ground in Maloya.