September 1, 2021 6:00:05 am
The issue of ‘smart’ parking rocked the General House meeting on Tuesday when the Opposition alleged that residents of the city had been cheated as there were no smart parking features at all.
As the agenda item was to be taken up, Congress councillors stood up and said that they first need a reply for not having smart features in the parking lots despite claims and only then will they allow the House proceedings.
Congress leader of opposition Devinder Singh Babla and councillor Satish Kainth said, “People have been befooled. We want to know where smart parking is. When you enter a parking lot, we don’t even know where to park and that entry fee (referring to parking fee) is taken from us. Vehicles are parked in a haphazard manner. Where is smart parking?”
Kainth stated that “corrupt practices are being followed and for the last one year the contractors have been taking money from people in the name of smart parking”.
BJP councillors argued that the team of officials is already at work and has conducted inspection.
However, Babla said, “When last time this contract had to be given, you promised that the city would this time get smart parking facilities but nothing has changed.”
Then Commissioner Anindita Mitra pacified the Congress councillors and said that in the next meeting, she will put forth a report on the parking with all the steps taken for ensuring smart parking facilities.
Mitra stated that already the team has conducted inspection and the report is being seen. She stated that a meeting with the contractors has been convened on Wednesday.
Mitra specified that the MC won’t hesitate to take action even if despite intimation the correct measures for ensuring smart parking features as per the contract are not taken. She stated that inspection would be done regularly and penalty would also be imposed if smart features are not found.
Two days ago, on the directions of the Finance and Contract Committee after UT Adviser Dharam Pal’s intervention, the officials had conducted inspection at the parking lots.
The team had found haphazard parking rampant and also that the smart app had not been implemented. It was also found that the LED screens displayed were not working properly. For a four-wheeler, Rs 12 are taken and for a two-wheeler, Rs 6 are taken.
Even though the General House approved the agenda of carrying out landscaping around judges’ houses in Sector 10 at a cost of Rs 58.93 lakh, many other councillors took up the issue of having development in their green belts too. The councillors stated that even as equipment like the open-air gym is installed, it is not maintained and requires regular maintenance.
BJP councillor Heera Negi said that the green belt in her ward is crying for attention. She stated that there was a fountain lying defunct in the park of Sector 49 and it was only recently that after repeated plaints, it was made functional.
“Also, there should be a full-time gardener in the green belts. At least it will help in maintaining the green belts regularly,” she put forth.
While stating that a gardener has to be there on a regular basis, she specified that at least the anti-social elements won’t break in or steal equipment from the park.
However, Commissioner Anindita Mitra stated that they can look forward to having CCTV cameras in the green belts.
The councillors agreed stating that already high-mast lights are installed and just that a work contract will be helpful.
BJP councillor Arun Sood said, “There should be a work contract so that any play equipment — swings or open-air gyms — are maintained well after installation.”
The Chandigarh civic body approved the agenda of carrying out landscaping around the judges’ houses in Sector 10-A at a cost of Rs 58.93 lakh. It will consist of the best of gym equipment in which high-end bearings will be used.
The state-of-the-art landscaping would be done by the civic body’s horticulture department. There would be the best of gym equipment in this green belt with space walkers and WAB Boards where the MC has sought best parts to be used in the equipment.
Each specification of the equipment is also mentioned that the agency needs to fix.
The civic body specified that there should be multi-colour powder coating with polyester paints to be used on all the equipment. It was mentioned that the foot pedal on all the equipment should be of aluminum only.
“The seats should be made of high quality plastic with colour scheme in yellow or orange. The high-end bearings such as SKF/NBC must be used in all the equipment. WAB Board or Abbs Shaper should be of size:-972x980x462 mm. Two WAB Boards are raised on the pendulum pillar for exercising and agility of the abdomen and muscles,” it specified.
The MC mentioned that this equipment will help in “developing the strength and flexibility of lumbar and abdominal muscles consuming the fat in waist and abdomen, good for figure shaping and bodybuilding”.
The Chief Architect, Department of Urban Planning, Chandigarh Administration, had submitted drawings for development of green belt around judges’ houses in November 2019.
“Therefore, necessity arises for framing of rough cost estimates for development of green belt around judges’ houses in Sector 10-A, Chandigarh, under capital head ‘landscaping’. Therefore, the area was inspected by the Sub-Divisional Engineer concerned. Besides this, area councillor Maheshinder Singh Sidhu has also requested to develop this area. Accordingly, a rough cost estimate amounting to Rs 58.93 lakh has been prepared and submitted for arranging administrative approval and allotment of funds under the appropriate head of counts,” it was specified in the agenda item prepared by the civic body.
The division 1 of the horticulture department was allocated funds of Rs 1 crore for year 2021-22. Of the given funds, till July 2021 expenditure of Rs 36.04 lakh was incurred while the remaining majority of it, that is Rs 58.93 lakh, will be spent in this project under (Plan) capital head “Landscaping Municipal Corporation, Chandigarh”.
DIGITAL PAYMENTS BY SCANNING QR CODE
The General House approved having the provision of digital payment by scanning QR code.
The Municipal Corporation Public Health Division No 2, Chandigarh, collects cash from consumers on account of water meter security, labour charges, water meter testing fee, temporary/permanent disconnection charges, construction charges, ferrule charges and miscellaneous receipts through various sub-divisions.
The cash is deposited by the sub-division with the bank concerned for credit to the main account of the Commissioner, Municipal Corporation.
The Joint Secretary, Government of India, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, through his letter dated January 14, 2021, has emphasised the importance of digital payment to boost GDP, enhance ease of transaction and offer insights into consumer behaviour.
To promote digital payment, the National Payment Corporation of India has set up the special cell to provide and hold support to the smart cities.
The representative from special cell of NPCI has requested that Municipal Corporation should also promote digital payment wherein the depositor may scan this QR code using any UPI-enabled payment application (e.g. Bhim UPI app or any third party app).
It was stated that once the depositor scans the QR code and enters the UPI pin, the amount will be debited to the account of the depositor and will be credited to the main account of the Commissioner, Municipal Corporation.
The sub-division can track transactions and payments on a real-time basis. Money without any limit can be transferred in the Commissioner, Municipal Corporation bank account.
AAP protests outside MC building, Chander Mukhi Sharma injured
The AAP workers on Tuesday protested outside the building of Municipal Corporation, Sector 17.
They protested against rising corruption and taxes. The Chandigarh Police had to resort to using water cannons and also cane-charged the protesters.
AAP’s MC Election Committee chairman Chander Mukhi Sharma was injured in the protest.
AAP Chandigarh’s national co-incharge Pardeep Chhabra and convener Prem Garg criticised the action and force used by the Chandigarh Police on the peaceful protesters. He said that it is the democratic right of every citizen to protest in a peaceful manner, but today Chandigarh Police acted at the behest of the corrupt BJP leaders and used water cannons and lathis against peaceful protesters.
While addressing the workers, Chhabra and Garg said that “people of the city are fed up with the rampant corruption in the Chandigarh MC under BJP and it is a common practice that no work is done by most of the officials without a bribe and the ruling BJP is directly responsible for this culture that has crept into the MC over the last few years.”
They said that AAP workers and leaders will go from door to door to expose the corrupt and inept BJP and also put the corruption-free Delhi Model of Arvind Kejriwal in front of common people of Chandigarh.
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