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MC okays group insurance for those in firefighting and emergency services

Announces Rs 20-lakh compensation for those who died on duty; high drama witnessed in the meeting.

By: Express News Service | Chandigarh | Published: July 29, 2014 3:19:05 am
BJP councillor Saurav Joshi sitting on the floor during the MC House meeting on Monday. BJP councillor Saurav Joshi sitting on the floor during the MC House meeting on Monday.

The MC House on Monday approved group insurance for all the employees in the firefighting and emergency services and also announced Rs 20-lakh compensation for those who died on duty, including fireman Amandeep Singh who died in the NIELET building collapse in June and for Amarjeet Singh Mavi who died after battling a fire in Sector 22 in 2008.

The House also passed the agenda for recommending the appointment of kin of fireman Ravinder Kumar Sharma, who died in the building collapse, on compassionate grounds to the UT Administration.

The House will now invite tenders for the insurance scheme and forward the proposal for compensation to the administration for approval.

Other significant agenda items that were discussed and passed include the setting up of two bio-gas plants by the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre with a capacity of five tonne per day each, setting up of a committee to take a decision on the agenda item regarding water auditing in the city, outsourcing the animal birth control programme to another NGO, and hiring of ex-servicemen from Punjab and Haryana as firemen and drivers for the fire department as “temporary measure” to fill vacancies.

The issue of 18 toilet blocks constructed in November last year was also discussed and councillors said that the MC had still not taken over their possession.

The agenda items regarding increase in water tariff rates and regularisation of e-rickshaws were deferred until the next meeting.

High drama was witnessed several times during the meeting, particularly when councillor Saurabh Joshi got up from his seat and staged a sit-in in front of the mayor to demand initiation of development works of PU, PEC University of Technology and PGI campus (Sector 12 and 14) by the MC. He was pacified after Commissioner V P Singh assured him that he would hold a meeting with the heads of the institutions in this regard.

Also, as soon as the meeting started, BJP councillors questioned Mayor H C Kalyan over the legality of his decision to declare the last meeting invalid. Senior Deputy Mayor Heera Negi asked the mayor whether he had sought legal opinion before declaring the meeting illegal.

Later, the issue of hiring ex-servicemen in the fire department from the Punjab Ex-Servicemen Corporation also led to a heated debate. Councillor Arun Sood and others asserted that the jobs should go to unemployed youths while nominated councillor Major (retd) D S Sandhu and councillor Pardeep Chhabra, among others, argued in favour of the servicemen.

The issue was then settled after all sides agreed to hiring of ex-servicemen from both Punjab and Haryana in a 60:40 ratio respectively. The commissioner said that it was only a “temporary measure” until more posts were sanctioned by the government.

The meeting also saw prolonged discussions before passing the agenda items of handing over maintenance of parks/green spaces/open area to RWAs and the operation, running and maintenance of already renovated public toilets at various markets of the city on operation-and-transfer basis to market welfare associations.

Commissioner Singh said the agenda was proposed because “Inspector Raj is not good for the residents and it would be better if the people concerned take the decisions regarding their sectors themselves. The MC will only supervise the use of the funds”.

Various councillors, including Subhash Chawla, expressed their doubts over the implementation of the decision, fearing that there might be many unregistered bodies which might take undue benefit from the contracts. The commissioner then added a clause that only registered RWAs or societies of residents living immediately next to the parks be given the contracts.

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