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How is Panchkula civic body bifurcation impacting Kalka-Pinjore and Panchkula?

Long term benefits available under the schemes of the central government, like AMRUT and JNNURM, among others, will also no more be applicable to Kalka and Pinjore areas

Written by Pallavi Singhal | Panchkula |
September 11, 2020 11:50:53 am
Panchkula news, Kalka and Pinjore areas, Panchkula civic body bifurcation, Kalka-Pinjore, Haryana news, Indian expressIn January 2018, a committee under the chairmanship of the Ambala Divisional Commissioner had recommended maintaining the corporation status for Panchkula, and separating Kalka and Pinjore from the Panchkula MC to have their own council. Express photo: Jaipal Singh.

The Panchkula Municipal Corporation was officially bifurcated into a municipal council for Panchkula’s Kalka area and a municipal corporation for Panchkula city, on July 7. The impact of the decision has begun to manifest into— escalated growth in Panchkula and increasing difficulty in implementing developmental works in Kalka.

The row over the bifurcation, which began more than two years back in 2018, in itself points towards the problems and issues that will surface for Kalka and Pinjore areas, as an adverse impact of the split.

While the decision may look politically correct, it may not translate into welfare for the common citizens of Kalka and Pinjore, as it would halt the on-going developmental works in the area.

Panchkula, pegged by the Chief Minister as the second capital of Haryana, has been receiving several funds by the state. Projects including the bio-remediation work of the dumping ground of Panchkula and its beautification have been sponsored by the state.

But the bifurcation will at the least lead to a slowing down of pace of development in Kalka and Pinjore areas. Long term benefits available under the schemes of the central government, like AMRUT and JNNURM, among others, will also no more be applicable to the region.

“This arbitrary system will push the region decades back, where in there was complete stagnancy of work prior to the formation of corporation. This would degrade the set up and the status of the area rather than upgrading it. Budget of a corporation is higher than council and prior to the formation of corporation, the council could not even look after its own expenses let alone implement developmental works,” said a former councillor from the region, who has written objection letters to several state bodies against the bifurcation.

Reasoning that since Panchkula aims to get a smart city tag soon, Kalka-Pinjores areas, if segregated, will not get the benefits.

His letter further read, “This would leave the people of our region devoid of benefits that come along with the tag.”

Meanwhile, with smaller areas and high number of wards, Panchkula is set to get undivided attention as well as budgets.

“We will be able to allocate all our funds to Panchkula itself and effect projects which were not possible to be extended to Kalka, which delayed the implementation. Smaller areas will also mean better quality of work. The taxes and other revenues which did come from Pinjore and Kalka were very low and did not contribute to our income. With the bifurcation, which even though may not be very good for the population of Kalka, will definitely benefit Panchkula,” said Ravi Kant Swami, former councillor from Sector 19, who is seeking a re-election this time.

Even though a committee may be able to focus on villages, as the landscape of Kalka is notably different from urban Panchkula, the implementation of developmental works in the area will remain to be a task.

“A Nagar Palika has no funds at all. When we had a committee, we could not even complete development works worth Rs 14,000. Even getting a new machine worth a few thousand would not be possible for Kalka, but Panchkula would easily be able to implement works worth crore,” said former councillor Sangat Singh from Kalka region.

The councillors have time and again argued for and against the bifurcation.

Even as those belonging to Panchkula have mostly supported the bifurcation of the Panchkula civic body, councillors of the Kalka region have stood against it.

While Satinder Singh Tony’s letter of objection and his threat of moving the High Court against the decision looms large, the state authorities speed up the process for the election of councillors for Panchkula, which are to be conducted before year-end.

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