Outbound councillors may be told to return laptops or pay uphttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chandigarh/outbound-councillors-may-be-told-to-return-laptops-or-pay-up/

Outbound councillors may be told to return laptops or pay up

The laptops given to Municipal Corporation councillors have put the civic body in a dilemma.

The laptops given to Municipal Corporation councillors have put the civic body in a dilemma.

It is pondering a proposal to let councillors retain laptops after paying 60 per cent of their original cost. Although the price may deter councillors from retaining the laptops,the bigger problem is that newly-elected councillors may not want to use the returned laptops.

Once a final decision is taken on this proposal,notices would be sent to the 20 councillors who were not re-elected to the House.

The councillors had been given the laptops at the end of last year after the demand was repeatedly raised in the House. Providing laptops to the councillors — both elected and nominated — cost the civic body is Rs 15 lakh. The councillors are required to return laptops before the end of their tenure. Should they choose to retain it,the councillors would be required to pay around Rs 27,000 to Rs 28,000.

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Sarita Devi,a BJP councillor who would no longer be a part of the coming term of the General House says,“We would rather buy a new laptop for this amount than paying it to retain an old and outdated one.”

Another councillor,Anju Beniwala says that if the civic body would charge a high price for retaining old laptops,then they would rather return it. She said that at this price one could buy a new laptop.

Apart from the six who were re-elected to the House,the remaining councillors will be given new laptops. Officials state that the councillors might not accept old laptops and that a decision is needed to tackle that situation.

One such newly elected councillor said that since he already has two laptops,there would not be a need for him to take old laptops from the Municipal Corporation.

An official said that it is expected that most of the councillors would like to return these rather than pay the cost after depreciation.

While the Municipal Corporation also started training classes for those who wanted to learn how to operate the laptops,not many councillors seemed interested.

Over the past year,a number of proposals were mooted to make use of the laptops for official purpose. One of these was that agenda of the House meetings should be available online and the house should be made paperless. This could not be implemented as some councillors demanded that it be made available in Hindi as they were not well-versed in English.