“We file a complaint, put in several letters, a few officials come, take stock of the situation and leave. No action is ever taken,” said Rajeev Kumar, a resident of Ashiyana. Kumar echoed to sentiments of all others present at the first ever Janta Darbar, held Friday at the Sector 23 community centre, Panchkula. The Darbar, was held by the MLA and speaker of the Haryana State Assembly, Gian Chand Gupta.
At least one official from each department was also present at the Darbar, to solve issues of people at the spot, including District Commissioner Mukesh Kumar Ahuja, SDM Sushil Kumar, City magistrate Naveen Kumar Ahuja and senior officials of other departments. The senior officials were on their feet throughout the one and a half hour long session, in trying to respond to Gupta.
Though the Darbar was open to all, most people in attendance belonged to the trans-Ghaggar sectors and had common issues pertaining to the Municipal Corporation and Haryana Shahari Vikas Pradhikaran (HSVP). As many as 88 complaints were received Friday, which included the common issues which have been plaguing the city since long including the relocation of the dumping ground, the persistent issue of stray cattle and dogs, absence of proper bus connectivity between Panchkula and Chandigarh and the on-going issue of enhancement rates implemented by HSVP on the flats of these sectors.
Jurisdiction in the area has been the basis of confusion for long now. Different civic amenities fall under the jurisdiction of either the civic body and the HSVP in different areas, creating confusion.
A resident from a village near Nada, complained about at least four non functional streetlights in his area, which have not been repaired despite several letters. When Gupta asked the officials, officials from both the MC and HSVP replied saying that the matter fell under the other. An angry Gupta, who had lost his patience to these arguments said, “It’s just a few bulbs. Decide it amongst yourselves and fix it within two days. Itna to aap mai se kisi ko bhi kardena chahiye,” and added “If you face any problem in getting it done, let me know.”
Dharamsingh Hera, president of Residents’ Welfare Association, Sector 26, while talking about the dumping ground, said, “It is a slow poison that is killing the residents that live nearby. We are all old men but we worry for the future of our children and grandchildren. We have been asking the government to do something about it for the past five years but to no avail. It is not such a big task. If the government wants to do it, it can be done in 15 days.” Gupta replied saying that a tender to shift it is already underway and should be implemented soon.
Numerous ultimatums were issued to different departments to get the issues like electricity and water woes, such as elevated water bills and open electricity cables, sorted in a span of two days to a week. Many issues were also waved away including the absence of a vending zone and the on-going anti-encroachment drive, issue regarding the joining of JBT teachers, and the lack of development in sectors 31 and 32. A man with a complaint that shops have been illegally occupied near NADA, was asked to specifically put in writing, the areas that have been illegally occupied.
While concluding the gathering, Gupta instructed officials to expedite development works in Panchkula. He also claimed that all 88 complaints will get a written reply informing the complainant about the action taken by the officials towards their complaint.
Another such Darbar, will take place on December 15 at Barwala to specifically listen to the problems of the village. These Darbars will be held regularly after every month or 45 days.