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BEING A God-fearing and religious person, owning a company and regular appearance of one’s name in press notes. These are some of the qualifications for getting appointed to the post of nominated councillor in Municipal Corporation, Chandigarh.
This was revealed in the reply to an application filed under the Right to Information Act by Congress councillor Subhash Chawla. As per the documents, one nominated councillor, Sat Paul Bansal, submitted details of the success achieved by his company along with personal information mentioning that he was fond of music.
The selection of nominated councillors took place in December 2011.
“A God-fearing and highly religious person. Has strong inclination towards charities for social uplift. Extremely fond of music and prefers light classical notes,” mentions Bansal’s biodata.
Bansal’s career graph mentions the success achieved by the company he owned. “PML [Paul Merchants Limited] was upgraded to the status of authorised dealer- category II by Reserve Bank of India. Got PML registered as a non-banking finance company for doing business of all types. In year 2007, PML made foray into the highly promising section of international tours and holiday packages. Today PML is rated as top primary agent of western union. Providing international money transfer services by PML is a social service in itself,” adds Bansal’s biodata.
Another achievement of Bansal is his visit to Pakistan where he was “awarded with commemoratives by Indo-Pak Friendship Association and Punjab Bar Counsel Lahore”. He had gone there on an invitation of the interior ministry.
Bansal claims that he had submitted another biodata later. “After this biodata, as far as I remember, I had sent one more biodata which mentioned my degrees and social activities in the field of finance. I even went to Pakistan on an invitation of interior ministry,” he told Chandigarh Newsline.
Another nominated councillor, M P Kohli, attached with his biodata newspaper clippings which mentioned his name among members of Chandigarh Beopar Mandal.
In his biodata, Kohli did not make any mention of degrees or experience of municipal administration (which the Act calls for). In the category of current post he was holding, he claimed that he was the patron of Chandigarh Beopar Mandal; chief advisor, Grain Market Association; and president, Mansa Devi Bhandara Committee.
Nominated councillor Anoop Sunny Gill submitted a single paper mentioning that he was a priest and had been the vice-president of All India Christian Council. There were no details of experience of municipal administration.
When contacted, Kohli disconnected the phone after hearing the question in detail. He just said that he was at Hyderabad.
Gill did not respond to calls and messages.
In a 36-member House, there are nine nominated councillors who participate in the House and play a key role in selecting the mayor. Questions have been raised many times over their selection criteria.
Baljinder Singh Bittu, chairman of Federation of Sectors Welfare Associations of Chandigarh, said that the nominated councillors in the past did not raise any issue but did only politics.
“A nominated councillor should be the one who contributes something to the development of the city. These nominated councillors who were made in the past never raised any issue concerning people or anything from their respective fields but did politics. In fact, they were the ones who just had political approach,” he said.