THE CASH-STRAPPED Mohali Municipal Corporation (MC) is planning to open its purse strings to buy an official car for Mayor Kulwant Singh, a wealthy builder who has been coming to the general house meetings in his own Bentley, a top-end luxury car that costs Rs 3 crore. An agenda item regarding the purchase will be introduced in the general house meeting scheduled to be held on Friday. The estimated cost of the car is said to be Rs 24 lakh. The MC’s decision is making many councillors, especially those in the opposition Congress party, see red. They demand that this money should instead be spent on development works.
According to the agenda item No. 16, the engineering wing of the MC will buy a Toyota Crista (2.4 ZX7 MT-Diesel) for the mayor for around Rs 24 lakh. The Congress councillors said they will oppose the agenda tooth and nail as this luxury purchase is not a priority. The councillors said the MC had already given a Toyota car to the mayor which is in running condition. And the mayor insists on using his own Bentley.
Bharat Bhushan Maini, Congress councillor from Ward No. 5, while commenting on the agenda, said there are other developmental works that could do with fund allocation. “The roads need repair, the pavements need paver blocks and the parks need better swings, lights and pathways. A car for the mayor who already has so many of them makes no sense.”
“We will oppose the agenda. The SAD councillors used to disrupt the house meeting all the time on the plea that development agendas were being overlooked. This new car is not justified,” he fumed.
Suman Garg, another Congress councillor, said the mayor must explain why he needs to buy a new car. Rajinder Singh Rana, former president of MC, said the mayor must prioritise developmental works. “We will not allow the MC to misuse public money to buy a vehicle for the mayor.’’
Rana added that after assuming charge as mayor, Kulwant Singh had promised that he would start the city bus service but instead of doing that he is only adding to his fleet of cars. Mayor Kulwant Singh, who is also the chairman of Janta Land Promoters Limited (JLPL), a real estate giant, is known to be fond of cars. The day he assumed charge as the mayor on August 31, 2015, he came to House in his Bentley. The mayor’s family too owns a fleet of luxury cars.
His son Sarbjeet Singh, a councillor from Ward Number 25, likes to flaunt his Harley Davidson bikes. When contacted, Kulwant Singh said he did not use his official car and had not demanded any new car. Other items on the agenda include declaring the areas falling within MC’s jurisdiction as Open Defecation Free (ODF), declaring the city garbage- free, extending the contracts for the maintenance of public toilets, imposing a ban on plastic carry bags and thermocol material, chalking out the action plan for solid waste management and removing illegal encroachments on MC land outside residential areas.