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Tuesday, December 01, 2020

Civic affairs in Panchkula in tatters- garbage woes on the rise, projects remain incomplete

Once hailed to be the Paris of Haryana, Panchkula—one of the youngest and a planned city—is now on its way to being a village next to UT, as stray cattle and dogs and littered garbage rule the roads. Several residents stated that they approached the MC, but to no avail.

Written by Pallavi Singhal | Panchkula | November 11, 2020 8:46:15 pm
The regularisation of garbage vendors has been a major issue in the district. The Panchkula MC had first launched a contractual scheme of garbage collection in sectors 7,8, 17 and 18 which had failed miserably, in 2010.

WITH THE garbage collectors in the district still not on work in some sectors and the civic body delaying implementation of the door-to-door garbage collection service, residents grouse about the mounting garbage problems.

“The situation regarding picking up of garbage and related issues has been grim for about a month in almost in all sector. The city has faced the wrath of indifferent and apathetic officers as the situation deteriorates at all places, and specifically in sectors 15, 19, 17, 2, 4, 9, 20 and all trans-Ghaggar sectors,” said SK Naiyar, president of Citizen’s Welfare Association of Panchkula.

Areas including sectors 8, 9,4, 12, 12A, 16, 21 and sectors of MDC continue to face issues with waste collection from source and even from the designated garbage zones, The Indian Express has found.

The city’s Municipal Corporation has failed to be the pioneer of waste segregation in the Tricity, as it aspired to be. Even the implementation of a new waste collection model on pilot basis, which was to begin in the second week of October, could not be made possible due to long strikes by the current unorganised garbage collection sector, prevalent in Panchkula.

The civic body had roped in the Feedback Foundation Charitable Trust from Gurgaon as part of the pilot project to collect garbage in four different dustbins under the heads of dry, wet, bio-medical, and hazardous. The project was to be implanted in two wards covering sectors 12, 12A, 11, 14 and 15.

However, after widespread strikes and protests by garbage collectors, the MC was unable to implement the project.

The regularisation of garbage vendors has been a major issue in the district. The Panchkula MC had first launched a contractual scheme of garbage collection in sectors 7,8, 17 and 18 which had failed miserably, in 2010.

“The real problem is of door-to-door collection which gets piled up at many houses due to irregular collection by vendors or their strike. It needs to be regularised. The government must come up with full-fledged infrastructure. It goes without saying that the existing team of private vendors must be adjusted in the process,” said RP Malhotra, president, Sector 8 RWA.

Paris of Haryana- ruled by strays

Once hailed to be the Paris of Haryana, Panchkula—one of the youngest and a planned city—is now on its way to being a village next to UT, as stray cattle and dogs and littered garbage rule the roads. Several residents stated that they approached the MC, but to no avail.

“The commissioner has spent lakhs of rupees on renovation of his office, no one can or will stop him. But he must take into account the condition of residents who are suffering under the false promises of the administration. Residents have been requesting the eradication of the menace of stray cattle, which has resulted in many accidents and other disturbing events. All cries fall on deaf ears and the menace has escalated to the extent that stray cattle have made our houses their own abode. My house and my wife and daughter are afraid of coming out of the gate. One of the cattle even entered our house,” said Anil Kashyap, a resident of Sector 16.

Projects stand undone

A corporation without a House, with nobody to represent individual wards and sectors further creates obstacles in the development of the city. Several projects, touted to be the harbinger of a developed city have remained pending or have been under construction for months.

Local MLA and Speaker of the Haryana legislative assembly, Gian Chand Gupta had stated during the release of his election manifesto last year, that he will work towards strengthening basic amenities in the city.

Despite Gupta’s threats repeated thrice over ten months, licenses and tenders of contractors whose work remains undone over the given time limits have not been cancelled. Despite the passage of more than two years, Panchkula’s bus queue shelters, which were mowed down in early 2018 with tall promises of being renovated and transformed into world-class facilities within six months, remain undone.

Thriving encroachments

Encroachments rule the city from all ends as continuous drives remain unable to deter the spirit of encroachers. A perennial problem for Panchkula—the encroachers have taken over pavements meant for pedestrians.

The encroachments remain rampant even outside Shakti Bhawan and other government offices in Sector 6.

In a meeting with the MC, Gupta had expressed displeasure at the non-commissioning of the vending zone in Sector 19, the cost of which ran into crores. Purportedly strict about the encroachments, Gupta had also stated that “no encroachment on government land will be tolerated.”

In late September last year, the government has issued a notice to re-initiate an anti-encroachment drive in Panchkula which went on from November to late February.

In the aftermath of the anti-encroachment drives, street vendors in the city had staged protests between November and early March. The vendors had also staged a sit-in outside the MC office throughout the harsh winters. They have now re-taken the streets.

Vacant plots home to snakes

Tall grasses now adorn the vacant plots of the city, and remain a threat to children for fear of reptiles crawling out.

“We have been trying the situation for three years now. We have tried meeting with the Chief Secretary, the MC Commissioners and the DC, but to no avail. The vacant plots not just in our sector but across the city grow tall grasses and nobody to mows them. We are even prepared to pay if the MC sends somebody along timely. We are scared of sending out our children to play as snakes have been spotted and even captured from the area time and again,” said Lieutenant General Mann (retired), a resident of MDC-4.

All sectors of MDC along with trans-ghaggar sectors which have several vacant plots have put in several such complaints to the MC.

Pending grievances since 2018

While the civic body, as per its record, has received only 2000 grievances from residents in the past two years, only 51 have been amended. Many of these complaints even date back to as long as two years ago, but are yet to be acknowledged.

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