IN ANOTHER glaring example of splurging public money, the Chandigarh civic body will be providing flooring afresh on a site meant for street vendors which was refurbished in January this year with neatly layered paver blocks, completely intact. The new flooring at this vendors’ site which is one of the largest among all vending sites in Sector 15 will be done at a cost of Rs 37.49 lakh.
According to the estimate prepared by the engineering wing, accessed by Chandigarh Newsline, of this Rs 37.49 lakh, around Rs 1 lakh would be spent on dismantling the concrete paver blocks and stacking the existing ones. Providing and laying cement concrete of specific grade excluding the cost of shuttering will be done at a cost of Rs 19,48,875 and another part of it will be done at a cost of Rs 8,66,658. The railing would be installed at a cost of Rs 3.02 lakh.
When contacted, Chief Engineer Shailender Singh said that existing pavers are not to be dismantled and an approach road needs to be made. However, when told that it was in the documents of estimates prepared by the engineering wing that the existing ones will be dismantled and nowhere in all the 17 points of the estimate it was mentioned that any approach road will be made, he said he would check with the executive engineer concerned.
Former councillor and BJP leader Saurabh Joshi said that this expenditure was not justified as the site was refurbished in January this year and pavers were completely intact. “It is surprising that not a single paver block is broken. And why do they want to make it concrete again by splurging public money? Just this January, they made the area concrete,” Joshi said.
Joshi also raised a question as to when the change in land use was done as it was a green belt earlier. “Has a proper procedure been followed when the change in land use was done because I was told by the department of urban planning that the CLU can’t be done? So now, how did they convert the green belt into this land? And did they call in public suggestions and objections for this?” Joshi asked.
Surinder Sharma, president of the Residents Welfare Association of Sector 15, said that a vigilance inquiry should be ordered into the fresh expenditure that is being incurred at the site. “They have made it a money-minting thing. Everything is in a perfect condition. Moreover, they should focus more on the fact that the choice of this site is faulty. Who will provide security to the girls who are in the hostel adjacent to the site?” he asked.
The site was recently revamped for as many as 936 vendors. Residents have already been raising questions on the choice of the site saying that there is a girls’ hostel next to it and it will become a hub of anti-social elements.