The General House meeting scheduled to be held Tuesday will discuss agenda items that will focus on offering reduction of charges to companies or contractors and imposing user charges on city residents of certain areas for waste collection.
There is no mention in the agenda about water tariff hike that city residents will be burdened with. The water panel had recommended inclusion of discussion about the same in the agenda as there had been a lot of opposition by city residents due to three-fold hike.
Also, the House will be discussing the extension of contract to contractors who supply dry fodder and green fodder for stray cattle. The amount at which the same was procured has been questioned by activists who term the same really high.
The Indian Express takes a look at some of the major agenda items the civic body will be discussing and the questions being raised on the same.
AUCTION OF STEEL BARS AT MUCH LOWER RATE?
An agenda item to dispose of old steel bars has also caught the attention of city activists. They question the rate at which it is being auctioned.
It was recommended by the committee to auction the old steel bars at Rs 23 per kg amounting to reserve price of Rs 6.39 lakh. About 27.79 MT has to be auctioned.
Former councillor Pallav Mukherjee said that this needs to be investigated as the civic body is selling it at a rate much less than what it is supposed to be in the market.
“The current price of steel bars is around Rs 44-47/- per kg or Rs 47 thousand per ton. Our worthies sitting in their high chairs have decided to sell the steel lying with the MCC for Rs 23 thousand a ton – at a 100 per cent profit — to the ghost purchaser?” he questioned.
The AAP raised a concern that in the agenda of disposal of old steel bars, it should be seen that in practice, all construction and maintenance projects of the corporation are awarded to private contractors who are responsible for procuring the construction material too.
They demanded that a high-level inquiry must be marked to investigate as to what was the purpose of purchasing steel bars in such huge quantity and why these steel bars had been lying unutilised since 2012. Also, which officials grossly miscalculated the quantity of the steel bars to be purchased from public funds, they questioned.
PURCHASE OF DRY FODDER AND GREEN FODDER RAISES QUESTIONS
According to the agenda, the stray cattle impounded in the cattle pounds situated at Industrial Area, Phase I are served dry fodder every day and tender for supply of same was floated in October 2019. The tender was awarded to one Gurkirat Singh at the total cost of Rs 1,08,20,352.
The agenda aims to get approval for extension of the contract by one more year even when many have questioned the rates at which the fodder has been purchased.
“As per clause no 1 of the terms and conditions, the contract can be extended up to three years on year to year with the consent of the supplier or approval of competent authonty. Now Gurkrat Singh has submitted his request that he is ready to supply dry fodder on same rate, terms & condition for another one year. The perfomance of the supplier during the year is satisfactory,” the agenda said.
Former councillor Pallav Mukherjee raised questions, saying that civic body spending almost Rs 30,000 a day to feed dry fodder to stray cattle is something that needs to be investigated.
“There are many people who even donate to the cattle. It needs to be investigated if there is really going to the stray cattle. Amount of Rs 1.08 crore is huge. It means Rs 2 lakh a week, that is Rs 30,000 a day?” Mukherjee said.
There is also a recommendation for allowing extension of one-year contract to one Devinder Kumar, who supplied green fodder to stray cattle at a cost of Rs 97,41,120.
REDUCTION IN LICENSE FEE FOR PARKING CONTRACTOR
The General House will also be discussing the reduction in licence fee to be given to parking contractors for September, October and November 2020. This is despite the General House waiving complete licence fee from March 16, 2020, to May 31, 2020, and allowing deposit of only 35 per cent of licence fee from June 1 to August 31 for 32 parking lots (Zone 1 contractor) and 45 per cent deposit of actual allotted licence fee for 57 parking lots for another contractor for the same period.
It is recommended by the committee that “position is not completely normal as it used to be before COVID 19”, thus the licensee of 32 parking lots which is Ram Sundar Prasad Singh be allowed monthly licence fee for month of September, 45 per cent of the actual allotted licence fee; for month of October, 50 per cent of actual allotted license fee; and for month of November, 55 per cent of actual allotted licence fee.
Also, the licensee of 57 other paid parking lots be allowed to deposit 55 per cent of actual allotted licence fee for the month of September; 60 per cent for actual allotted licence fee for October and 65 per cent of actual allotted licence fee for November.
AAP leaders stated that reduction in licence fee for parking contractors should be restricted only till the period of lockdown of the markets. No compensation should be extended beyond August 2020, they said.
AMENDMENTS PROPOSED to RURAL BUILDING BYLAWS
The Chandigarh civic body will also be discussing amendments to the Chandigarh Rural Rehabilitation Construction and Reconstruction Building Bylaws 2017. The agenda will come up in the General House meeting on Tuesday.
In the proposed amendments, it is suggested that plots having 125 square yards may be exempted from the setbacks and allowed 100 per cent coverage subject to proper light and ventilation and when there is no projection or encroachment on government land.
For commercial activities, the bylaws 2017 stated that max 50 square metre cover area shall be allowed for commercial use on ground floor only and no trade shall be permitted. However, in the proposed amendments, it is recommended to allow 100 per cent of permissible ground coverage for commercial purpose subject to the deposit of conversion.
The bylaws of 2017 stated that basements are not allowed. However, as per the amendments, provision of basements should be allowed.
Also, in the height as per bylaws, it was stated that maximum height as measured from plinth level is 34 feet, 3-0 high parapet can be constructed over and above it.
However, as per proposed amendments, additional floor — ground floor plus three floors — be allowed.
The AAP while deliberating upon this agenda stated that this agenda that aims to revise the existing byelaws to enable the corporation to issue NOCs to houses already built in the UT villages so various kinds of fees and charges can be imposed on the village residents.
“It further seeks to double the scrutiny charges and impose new kind of penalties and charges. It is recommended that the corporation should issue NOCs unconditionally to all buildings constructed prior to the merger of the respective villages in the Municipal Corporation, since no building byelaws existed when these old constructions were raised and it is highly unfair to mint money from the native villagers in the name of granting NOCs and sanctioning building plans,” the AAP said.
They also stated that 13 out of 22 villages have no representation in the House since these were merged in the corporation in the end of 2018.
“Hence, the corporation should not revise any byelaws regarding any restrictions, fees, charges, penalties etc until councillors from the villages are elected to discuss on this agenda,” they said in a statement issued here.
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