The ambiguous division of functions between the UT Administration and the Municipal Corporation often leaves the citizens in the lurch. The extent of the division is such that even the control of pests and insects is divided.
In case one is troubled by mosquitoes, one needs to contact the Health Department of the administration. If there is a swarm of bees that is causing problems, then residents need to contact the Municipal Corporation. Repeated attempts by the MC to get bees transferred to the Environment Department have not borne fruit. Flies too are the responsibility of the MC.
When the corporation was created in 1995 under the Punjab Municipal Act, some departments from the administration were transferred to it.
But, apart from sanitation, none of the departments was transferred completely. The malaria wing was transferred, but was later taken back by the administration. Till date, the ambiguities remain unresolved.
The roads were divided between the MC and administration. At present, all V-1 and V-2 roads as well as the margs and paths are with the administration. The remaining V-3, V-4, V-5 and V-6 roads are maintained by the MC.
The streetlights with overhead electricity wires are managed by the administration while those with underground wires are looked after by the MC. The parks and gardens are divided, too.
Baljinder Singh Bittu, chairman of Federation of Sectors Welfare Association Chandigarh, says, “These divisions create a problem for the residents. It is very difficult to keep a track of what facility is with which department. If residents have to lodge complaints, they keep looking for the right place to do so. There is a need for having a common complaint number where any kind of complaint can be lodged.”
He adds, “Even within gardens, different departments look after different facilities. If the footpaths are damaged, the complaint has to be given to the roads wing while in case the grass is overgrown, the Horticulture Department has to be informed.”
Under the 74th constitutional amendment, certain functions have to be transferred to the MC from the administration. But the manner in which this has been done is irrational. A few primary schools and primary dispensaries have been handed over to the MC, but only the building; the administrative powers are still with the UT Administration.
Councillor and former mayor Pardeep Chhabra says that the issue has been raised several times with the administration. “We have not been given any department completely apart from sanitation. Till the departments are handed over, the ambiguities will continue. In case of primary health, the post of Chief Medical Officer has not been filled. There is no post of DPI in MC. Even departments that have been transferred cannot be managed by us,” he adds.