With just three months left for this calendar year to end, many elected councillors, who came to power last December, have not spent even one per cent of their allotted ward development fund, two of them have not even a penny and eight councillors have spent less than 5 per cent of the funds allocated to them, according to the details obtained from the accounts department of the Municipal Corporation.
The details pertain to the period up to September 30 this year.
In December last year, 35 councillors were elected by the people of Chandigarh. Of them, 14 councillors are from the Aam Aadmi Party, 14 are from the BJP (two switched later), six are from the Congress and one is from the SAD. Each councillor gets Rs 80 lakh as ward development fund for every calendar year.
The ward development fund was increased from Rs 40 lakh to Rs 80 lakh in the previous term on the request of the councillors who had said that they are unable to spend funds as many get stuck at various levels and works of respective wards are not carried out. The councillor has discretionary powers to spend his/her ward development fund anywhere in his/her own ward.
The details reveal that for councillors Gurbax Rawat (Congress) and Bimla Dubey (BJP), the amount spent is zero. AAP councillor Poonam and BJP councillor Jasmanpreet just spent Rs 42,000 each.
Dubey said, “I had written letters for various works in my ward. Why they haven’t been started or done yet, has to be checked.”
Congress councillor Gurbax Rawat, however, said that works of Rs 71.48 lakh have been approved for her ward from the ward fund and many of these works have even started while BJP’s Jasmanpreet Singh said, “Works of Rs 28 lakh in my ward are still underway and will be completed soon. Also, other works for installation of swings and other equipment for development of park are being allotted and my entire WDF will be utilised.”
Poonam did not respond to calls made by The Indian Express.
There are eight councillors of the civic body who spent less than 5 per cent of the funds allocated to them. According to the details, BJP councillor Gurcharanjit Singh spent just Rs 1.29 lakh, BJP’s Harjeet Singh spent just Rs 1.58 lakh, BJP councillor Kuljeet Sandhu spent merely Rs 2 lakh, AAP’s Neha spent Rs 2.07 lakh in her ward while AAP councillors Prem Lata and Yogesh Dhingra just spent Rs 3.94 lakh each in their ward. Similarly, AAP councillor Manaur spent just Rs 2.30 lakh while SAD councillor spent just Rs 3.55 lakh.
AAP councillors Suman Devi, Daman Preet Singh, Jasbir Singh from ward no. 21 and Kuldeep Kumar spent just Rs 10.62 lakh, Rs 17.56 lakh, Rs 14.31 lakh and Rs 19.48 lakh respectively while Mayor Sarabjit Kaur and BJP’s Darshana spent Rs 19.65 lakh each in their respective wards. Congress councillor Jasbir Singh from ward no. 24 spent just Rs 15.16 lakh and Sachin Galav spent Rs 14.50 lakh while Gurpreet Singh Gabi and Nirmala spent Rs 22.62 lakh and Rs 17.63 lakh respectively.
There are some good spenders as well who managed to spend 50 per cent or more funds of their WDF. AAP councillor Taruna managed to spend Rs 41.09 lakh, BJP’s Harpreet Babla spent Rs 52.87 lakh, BJP councillors Dalip Sharma and Mahesh Inder Singh Sidhu spent Rs 46 lakh and Rs 31.47 lakkh respectively. Similarly, BJP’s Saurabh Joshi managed to spend Rs 39.95 lakh while party’s another councillor Kanwarjeet Rana managed to spend Rs 37.41 lakh.