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Chandigarh councillors raise questions on upgradation of Rose Garden: ‘Where did Rs 25 lakh go?’

To this, superintending engineer of the horticulture wing Krishan Pal Singh said that of this amount, Rs 3 lakh were meant to purchase stuff meant for chemical treatment while the remaining amount was for plants.

Written by Hina Rohtaki | Chandigarh |
Updated: September 26, 2021 10:30:36 am
The councillors posed this question to the officials of MC, as the agenda of sanctioning the budget to celebrate Rose Festival at Rs 87 lakh amount came up in the meeting Saturday. (Express photo by Sumit Malhotra/Representational)

“Where did Rs 25 lakh go which were sanctioned for the upgradation of the Rose Garden?”

The councillors posed this question to the officials of MC, as the agenda of sanctioning the budget to celebrate Rose Festival at Rs 87 lakh amount came up in the meeting Saturday.

BJP councillor Arun Sood asked the officials, “When we used to visit Rose Garden in our childhood days, it was full of bed of roses and today it is not the case. It is in a dilapidated condition. Where are those Rs 25 lakh that were sanctioned? And a committee was also constituted for it?”

To this, superintending engineer of the horticulture wing Krishan Pal Singh said that of this amount, Rs 3 lakh were meant to purchase stuff meant for chemical treatment while the remaining amount was for plants.

“Because Covid-19 was there and nurseries were shut. That’s why…,” said Krishan Pal. However, the councillors did
not find the reply convincing.

“To date, has any meeting of the committee been convened?” Sood asked. However, there was no reply. The councillors asked if the amount had been utilised to which the officials replied that it wasn’t. The councillors then said it
was surprising if it remained unutilised. The committee that was constituted to give a makeover the garden didn’t meet even once since its constitution.

Commissioner Anindita Mitra said she wasn’t aware and the executive engineer incharge be asked in writing as to why no meeting was convened so far.

Budget of Rs 87 Lakh for Rose Festival approved

While it was resolved that it would be decided later whether to hold the festival, according to the situation of COVID at that time, the budget of Rs 87 lakh was approved by the General House.

Providing waterproof tentage/furniture in the Rose Garden, for main events pandal, sub-events, cut flowers arrangement, shamiana, control room for lost and found enquiry and first aid will alone cost Rs 26.25 lakh and only providing decorative and security light arrangement along with sound system at the festival will cost Rs 7.67 lakh. Providing high tea, refreshment and lunch, mineral water to the chief guests/judges and duty employees of MC will cost Rs 3.15 lakh.

In the digital age when invites are sent through WhatsApp and entry forms can be downloaded, the MC has proposed to spend Rs 3.80 lakh on entry forms, booklets of rules and regulations pamphlets, brochures placard for flowers display arrangements, invitation cards badges, parking passes and stationery items for various events. Even as there is no requirement for a media centre, Rs 1 lakh have been proposed to be spent on it. Not just this, just fixing of machhans for security purpose will cost Rs 2.50 lakh and mere barricading of boundary wall with nylon rope will cost Rs 84,000.

Decorating the entry and exit gates and stage along with bouquets and rose buds will alone cost Rs 5.15 lakh while videography and photography arrangement for covering the main event and other sub-events will be costing Rs 84,000.
The prizes and gifts to the participants, chief guests, chairman and sub-committee members will cost Rs 3.50 lakh. The MC said the boarding, lodging, refreshment, arrangement and stay of NZCC folk dance participants will be costing them Rs 2.10 lakh.

The civic body also stated that there is a requirement of funds of Rs 1.80 lakh for competition of best neighbourhood parks. When publicity can be easily done through videos and messages on WhatsApp groups, the civic body stated that they want Rs 2.10 lakh only as a requirement of funds for advertisement and branding would be separate for Rs 2 lakh.

Cash prizes of previous competition not given

It was also pointed out that the cash prize of neighbourhood parks competition that was held in the previous Rose Festival has not been given till now. Officials said the bills were getting approved. Mayor Ravi Kant Sharma said the cash prize won’t remain a prize if “winners have to beg and take it”.

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