THE CHANDIGARH Administration has turned down the Municipal Corporation’s request for retaining the departments of primary health and primary education with them. After finding not convincing enough the reply to the notice served on the civic body, the Chandigarh Administration decided to take over the primary schools and primary health from the MC.
A notice was served a few days ago by the administration on the MC as to why the two departments may not be taken away from them. It was stated that they have failed to manage the key departments which were suffering.
Confirming the development, UT Adviser Manoj Parida told Chandigarh Newsline said, “Their reply was not satisfactory. Official takeover will happen very shortly.”
The administration said that the MC has been claiming that they are facing a financial crisis which gives them ample reasons to take over the two departments. The civic body was also asked to give up voluntarily but they insisted on retaining the departments.
It was in 2010 that the Chandigarh Administration had given the control of these two departments to the civic body. But both primary schools and dispensaries remained in a pathetic condition and the MC did not show much interest in them.
Since then in the budget allocation for these departments, not even one per cent of the amount would be spent even as dispensaries and primary schools cried for attention. The situation in primary schools was such that students would not even have requisite furniture and would be packed like sardines in the classrooms. The same holds true for dispensaries which remained in a dilapidated condition but it did not matter to the corporation.
Going by certain examples of the civic body’s interest in these departments, in the 2017-18 budget of Rs 5 crore it got for schools, it had spent only 0.2 per cent, that is Rs 1 lakh. Prior to this period, they did not even spend a single paisa out of the budget allocation.
The corporation was entrusted to run these primary schools while the rest of the 114 schools were under the administration’s education department. All these primary schools were in dire need of repair and additional staff.
Similar state was of primary health when the MC in 2017-18 showed a spending of Rs 1 crore of the allocated Rs 8 crore for the 20 dispensaries out of a total of 27 that Chandigarh has. Most of these dispensaries too required an overhaul and were short of staff. Prior to this period, the MC spent only Rs 70 lakh of the allocated Rs 15 crore for primary health centres.
Then in the 2018-19 budget, it reduced the budget allocation for these departments — Rs 3 crore for schools and Rs 5 crore for dispensaries. And the spending again was similar — not even one per cent.
In the 2019-20 budget, the civic body again reduced the budget for these two departments — Rs 1 crore each for these two departments. Last year, they even spoke about returning them to the administration as part of the functions were with the administration. But many councillors stated that this would put a question on their efficiency if they returned them.