The last Finance and Contract Committee (F&CC) meeting presided over by outgoing Chandigarh Mayor Davesh Moudgil, Wednesday gave him an expensive farewell gift. It approved Rs 2.02 cr worth projects for his ward alone, and Rs 1.52 cr for his favourite Mahesh Inder Sidhu’s ward.
Among the works approved in the mayor’s ward, comprising sectors 31, 47 and 48, are decorative plants in parks worth Rs 30 lakh, one lift in a community centre at a cost of Rs 24 lakh and PCC tiles worth Rs 76 lakh. Moudgil’s term as Mayor will end on December 31. The proposals, called “agendas” in MC parlance, were approved at the meeting in a matter of two hours.
Moudgil justified the approvals for the works in his ward, saying “it is part of Chandigarh. It is not in Pakistan”.
The meeting was attended by Municipal Commissioner K K Yadav and the councillors who are members of the committee – Anil Kumar Dubey, Farmila, Gurbax Rawat, Heera Negi and Raj Bala Malik – beside others.
According to official information, the F&CC meet approved estimates for providing and planting decorative plants in the green belts of Sector 47 and 48 at a cost of Rs 29.45 lakh, PCC tiles on pavement along V-6 road in Sector 47 A for Rs 35.96 lakh and in Sector 47 B for Rs 40.29 lakh.
The committee also gave a go ahead for supply and erection of LED fittings near staircase in EWS Colony of Sector 47 C and D at a cost of Rs. 38.40 lakh. One lift at a community centre of Sector 48 will be installed at an estimated cost of Rs 24.17 lakh. The lift is meant for 10 passengers at a time.
Paver blocks on the footpath in sector 47 C and D will be installed at a cost of Rs 34 lakh, as approved by the committee. In Sidhu’s ward, comprising sectors 1 to 11, stainless steel indicating boards in sectors 2 to 11 at a cost of Rs 49.75 lakh and fixing PCC tiles on road berm of V-5 and V-6 road at Sector 3 at a cost of Rs 44.82 lakh have been approved.
Estimates for special repair and raising the level of cement concrete flooring of the green belt near Dhobi Ghat, Arya Samaj Mandir and opposite telephone exchange in Sector 7 C at a cost of Rs 31.33 lakh, and PCC tiles on berms of V-6 road in Sector 7 C at an estimated cost of Rs 26.62 lakh have also been given the go ahead.
Congress councillor Devinder Singh Babla called it a waste of public funds. “In the first place, he is not the mayor of his ward, but the entire city. Works have to be carried out in the complete city. Moreover, agendas, which are not even required, have been approved. Why do they cry for funds then when decorative plants worth Rs 30 lakh are being approved,” Babla said.
Defending himself, Mayor Moudgil said he was an elected representative. “The entire year, I worked for the city. I got Rs 132 crore for Municipal Corporation Chandigarh. My ward is also part of Chandigarh. It is not in Pakistan. I have to work for my area residents also. As far as decorative plants and lift are concerned, I am getting things of basic necessities. I didn’t get chandeliers worth Rs 6 lakh installed in community centres like (Arun Sood)”, BJP councillor.
The meeting did not approve BJP Councillor Sood’s “agendas” for his ward comprising of sectors 37, 38 and 38 west. He had wanted a bar, food counter, spiral stair, dumbwaiter and wrought (cast) aluminum furniture at the community centers of sectors 37 and 38 at a cost of Rs 52.68 lakh.
In the evening, Municipal Corporation Chandigarh released a press release on the approvals, which included Sood’s proposals, apart from a water feature in a park worth Rs 47 lakh. Later, the department again issued a revised press release after striking off the Sood portion. After a hue and cry over the approvals for Moudgil’s proposals, and the water feature of Rs 47 lakh, the department reissued a revised ress release without the water feature.
BJP Councillor Sood said he would fight it out within the MC and party. “Agendas of necessities have been halted and ornamental plants of Rs 30 lakh are being approved. One lift costs around Rs 7 to 8 lakh, but a lift at a cost three times more is being approved in his (mayor) ward. My agendas were first stopped by road committee, then by the mayor from coming in the House, and now have been rejected in the F&CC. I am an elected councillortoo,” he said.
Moudgil differed: “In the first place, I didn’t stop his agendas. In last House meeting, he misled us saying that I stopped it, while the municipal commissioner had specified that he had not given a go ahead. The only fact is that everything is not to be done in community centres of sectors 37 and 38. The members were of the view that a policy be made for all community centres,” he said.