Saurabh Prashar finds out what the three leading contestants in the Battle for Chandigarh have to say about its Top 6 gripes.
Kirron Kher, Congress
Monorail is the solution and God willing, you will soon see it running in Chandigarh. Car pool and other such citizen initiatives are also needed. I also plan to introduce mini-electric buses in the city.
Multi-level parking lots hold the key. To begin with, we need to start with hospitals, high court, etc.
Swachh survekshan rankings
The city was aiming for top three during my tenure. We got it there. Unfortunately, this time the cleaning staff was on strike during the audits. What do you expect in such a situation? Also, the survey and rankings are all initiatives of our govt at the Centre.
Jobs for the young
We aim to make Chandigarh a start-up hub on the lines of Silicon valley where youth can incubate their ideas into reality. I’m in regular touch with youth in the city and from the city. We will together work it out. Wait and watch!
There’s a legal battle going on. We are on it. These are problems that have originated because of the lopsided vision of the MP before me. We cannot be inhumane in our approach. Hence, we’re carefully treading our way to the solution.
Proliferation of slums
Who built these slums in the city? Everyone knows the answer. It is a gift given to the city by Mr Bansal. We, on the other hand, have rehabilitated them in pakka houses. We already handed over 4,000 houses. We are on the job to ensure every poor person has a roof above them without disturbing the demographics of our city.
Pawan Kumar Bansal, Congress
Sixteen lakh vehicles from neighbouring states arrive and depart from Chandigarh every day. Metro, not mono-rail, is the only solution. Managing only Chandigarh’s traffic is not an issue. Around 25,000 vehicles from Chandigarh go out of the city and come back every day.
Community parking and underground parking is the perfect solution. We should start using all the closed underground parking lots. Various market and residents welfare associations have told me that they are ready to make parking arrangements in their area by paying minimal fee to MC. I am against private contractor for parking lots.
There should be zero tolerance for people who litter. Rs 3 crore was wasted on dustbins but there is no segregation. We should start on-the-spot segregation and composting, which will generate revenue for Municipal Corporation.
Jobs for the young
I am in favour of promoting small-scale and large-scale industries in which companies should give preference to the city youth. There should be reservation for our youth. But it needs Constitutional amendment. People in villages do not have land or other sources of livelihood. We will have to create jobs for them.
BJP has made a mess of the system. First of all, the MC hired an inexperienced private company for the survey of vendors. Street Vendor Act was misapplied. The number of vendors increased from almost 7,000 to 20,000. The situation is so alarming that today every trader, be it in Sector 22, Sector 35, is renting the space outside his shop to vendors.
Explosion of slums
The proliferation of slum was stopped during my tenure. It is the responsibility of local administration and police not to allow anyone to build temporary structures on vacant lands. I personally believe inflow of migrants has decreased due to schemes like MGNREGA.
Harmohan Dhawan, AAP
I favour metro, not monorail. Wherever the concept of metro was introduced, people benefited. People from neighbouring cities will also be benefited by the metro. Mono rail is not feasible in Chandigarh.
I am against the concept of inviting private firms, giving them contract for managing the parking lots. I had rather engage Resident Welfare Associations.
Swachh Survekshan rankings
It is bad-se-badtar (from worse to worst) in Chandigarh. Municipal Corporation got dustbins, which were never distributed. BJP is only sloganeering, it’s doing nothing on the ground.
Jobs for youth
Chandigarh youths should be given reservation in private and government jobs. There should be schemes for promoting businesses, small-scale industries etc.
I have struggled for these people. I went to jail thrice for fulfilling their demands. Even now I have a strategy for their rehabilitation. I am not in favour of shifting vendors from Sector 17 to Sector 45 or from Sector 19 to Sector 25. I will provide them space in the same sector and in a manner that traders and residents don’t suffer.
Explosion of slums
It is an administrative lapse. Anti-encroachment officials deliberately don’t remove slums under political influence. A biometric survey of slum-dwellers has been going on since 2006 but the problem is yet to be solved. And some people who were rehabilitated sold off their houses and are back in slums.