30 December 2017
Expressing dismay over the shocking lows that Chandigarh experienced this year, former Union Minister and ex-MP, Pawan Kumar Bansal said that though tall promises were made at the beginning of the year, yet statements remained nothing more than failed efforts for publicity.
Sanitation: After Chandigarh slipped to a shocking 11th position in swachhta rankings early this year, several plans were announced by the Municipal corporation – ‘waste segregation’ being one of them. Even though the MC spent around Rs 2 crore to distribute grossly small blue and green bins to residents, yet the ill-planned and poorly implemented policy just ended up being a big flop show. Garbage collection rates were also hiked, but there was no improvement in any facility. Further, Daddu Majra garbage processing plant remained non-functional causing severe health problems to the residents of the area.
Crime: Numerous incidents of stalking, molestation and sexual assaults on women were reported this year making Chandigarh just the second UT after New Delhi in the ‘crime against women’ ranking. The gang rape in November of a 21-year old shocked the entire city and what was even more shocking was our MP’s victim-blaming insensitive statement after the incident Carjacking and snatching have become so common that a feeling of fear and insecurity grips the residents. Incidents of snatching reported this year witnessed a steep rise with close to 240.
SSA status remains unchanged: The teachers working under Sarv Shiksha Abhiyaan in government schools were not regularised this year as well. These teachers’ salaries are delayed for months and their service conditions are also very discriminatory as compared with those of the regular teachers.
Health: The e-health centre at Dhanas remained a non-starter and was found locked barely a few days after much-hyped launch by Punjab Governor and UT Administrator VP Singh Badnore. In the absence of adequate staff condition of dispensaries and Emergency services in GMCH Sector 32 have taken a big hit.
Railway station: It was over eight years back that Chandigarh Railway Station was included in the list of five railway stations that were selected for development as world class stations with all latest facilities. Now it is disappointing to learn that Chandigarh administration has thrown a spanner in the works by curtailing the area to half. The CCTV cameras are in bad shape and half of them do not work.
Parking fee: To much of everyone’s shock, parking fee was hiked without providing any additional services. The haphazard parking still continues though.
Metro Project Abandoned: Nothing hurt me more personally than the abrupt abandoning of Metro rail project, which is a must for City Beautiful. On one side it is expected of people to use public transport more by introducing heavy road taxes, on the other, even CTU buses aren’t enough in number. In any case those are not the preferred mode of local transport. Further, most of the bus stop que shelters that were pulled down for no no valid reasons have not been replaced.
“Back breaking conversion charges”:For three years, the UT did nothing on the issue and suddenly raised the charges of conversion of leasehold to freehold by 55 times. Can those responsible justify what made them raise the rates?
Employees housing scheme:Chandigarh’s MP totally made a U-turn from the statement she made during her election campaign in 2014 – of ensuring ‘housing for all’. In a blow to nearly 4,000 UT employees, who had even paid money for a housing scheme about nine years ago, she said that she could not give guarantee for the scheme and passed the buck to the opposition instead. Outcome of latest statement on the issue will be looked forward to with hope.
Under the Small Flats Scheme of 2006, 3000 flats are lying vacant since last 3 years forcing the beneficiaries like those in Colony 4 to live in poor conditions. There is a clear intention with an eye to do it before the election. These ready flats are lying in a state of disuse and No houses are being given under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana.
Looking from any angle, performance of the MP, the administration and the MC during the year has been disappointing. Hyperbole has remained hollow and outcomes have left much to be desired.