Ludhiana: MC General House meet likely to be a stormy affair

The upcoming meeting of Municipal Corporation’s (MC) general house is expected to be a stormy affair with councillors already opposing the resolution to make the building branch’s clearance mandatory for availing TS1 certificate (NOC) from the civic body.

Councillors of all parties, including those of Congress, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) have opposed the resolution stating that there is a lot of confusion and the public is facing harassment as the authorities implemented the same without discussing it in the house.

Senior deputy mayor Sham Sundar Malhotra also criticised the decision and the councillors stated that they will take up the matter at the meeting scheduled to be held on October 4 at Guru Nanak Dev Bhawan.

Before the implementation of new rules, the applicant had to get clearance only from the property tax and operations and maintenance wing (water-sewer charges). In the resolution put on the agenda of the meeting, it has been mentioned that the MC has to recover around 20 crore from property owners against whom challans were issued in the past. It is necessary to recover the amount due to which the clearance of the building branch has been made mandatory.

“If the authorities had the details of challans, why do they not directly approach the person and recover the amount,” asked AAP councillor Rakesh Prashar.

“With the implementation of the new rule, the public is already facing harassment. This will result in delayed release of TS1 certificates as the building branch is already struggling to work properly and is overburdened. MC commissioner Shena Agarwal should roll back the decision and we will demand this in the general house meeting,” said Prashar.

Similarly, the leader of BJP councillors, Sunita Rani slammed the authorities for implementing the decision. The authorities should have asked for the permission of the general house before implementing the rule. There is a lot of confusion now and this will certainly delay the process. The authorities should directly approach the public for the recovery of dues rather than making the process of availing of the TS1 certificate lengthier.

Recently, a number of Congress councillors, including Jai Prakash, Baljinder Bunty, Parvinder Lapran and Pankaj Kaka met mayor Balkar Sandhu and MC commissioner Aggarwal over the improper working of the building and the delay in approving the building plans.

Criticising the move, SAD councillor Harbhajan Singh Dang stated that they will also hold a meeting of SAD councillors over the issue in the coming days and the matter will be raised in the house meeting.

Mayor Balkar Sandhu stated that the matter will be sorted out in the coming days and he has already taken up the matter with MC commissioner Aggarwal. He stated that only steps will be taken to ensure recovery of dues and no such steps will be taken which will lead to harassment of the public.

House to deliberate on reconstituting anti-encroachment panel

At a time when traffic bottlenecks are being caused by encroachment in different parts of the city, the Municipal Corporation (MC) will be deliberating on a resolution to reconstitute the anti-encroachment committee, which was earlier formed on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

RTI activists and members of various NGOs are also part of the committee and no meeting of the committee has been held since November 2017. In the last meeting held in November 2017, MC officials and NGO members were at loggerheads.

Now, during the general house meeting, the MC will also deliberate on whether to continue with NGO members/RTI activists in the committee or not.

In the agenda, which will be tabled in the house meeting, it has been mentioned that the high court had ordered to form a committee and include citizens for assisting the MC in identifying encroachments. But the authorities are not answerable to these members, as per the legal opinion obtained by the MC.