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Posted at: Jan 11, 2019, 7:10 AM; last updated: Jan 11, 2019, 7:14 AM (IST)MAYOR’S DISCRETIONARY FUND OF RS 2 CRORE

Lion’s share for a select few

Successive mayors have been spending only in favourite councillors’ wards
Lion’s share for a select few

Sandeep Rana

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 10

Successive mayors have been spending the discretionary annual fund of Rs 2 crore in the wards of a select few favourite councillors. 

According to data pertaining to the terms of some of the previous mayors, in 2017, Asha Jaswal spent Rs 80.15 lakh of the total approved Rs 190.87 lakh in the ward of a single councillor, Arun Sood, her “close” BJP colleague. Another whopping Rs 43.2 lakh went to Congress councillor Devinder Singh Babla, who is considered to be on good terms with Jaswal and Sood.

The two councillors walked away with about 65 per cent of her total fund even as there are 26 councillors in the House, at present ruled by the BJP. In Sood’s ward, the funds were spent on various works in the community centres in Sector 37 and 38 (West). 

While in Babla’s ward, the funds were spent on open air gyms in green belts in Sector 30 and 27, and children play equipment and huts along with benches in Sector 28. “After assuming charge, whichever councillor sends us his/her application, the request is considered. Those who sent applications had their words done,” reasoned councillor Jaswal, who remained the Mayor in 2017.

Similarly, in 2016, then BJP Mayor Arun Sood had a large part of his total approved Rs 199.96 lakh funds going to  certain councillors only. While the then councillor, Satinder Singh, got Rs 28.08 lakh, Jaswal, who had sanctioned the lion’s share to Sood during her tenure, too, got Rs 26 lakh for her ward.

Denying the charge of favouritism, Sood told Chandigarh Tribune, “This is done on the first-come-first- served basis. When we receive applications from councillors, we process the request. Those who gave their applications early, their work got approved. The funds cannot be spent equally in all wards. In that case, it will not be a discretionary fund.”

Present BJP Mayor Davesh Moudgil tried to spend funds by covering different areas. Still, three councillors walked away with the lion’s share. Leader of the Opposition in the House Babla once again got a handsome amount of Rs 27.57 lakh from the Mayor’s kitty. BJP councillor Sidhu got Rs 27.57 lakh again. Heera Negi, who is close to Moudgil, got Rs 15.54 lakh. However, he has given funds to various wards. According to Moudgil, he has got Rs 199.54 lakh approved of his total amount of Rs 2 crore.

“Cutting across party lines, I have sanctioned funds to all councillors, be it the BJP, the Congress, the SAD or independent councillor, for a balanced development of the city. The discretionary fund should be spent wisely. It should be spent in such a way that every section of society gets an advantage and the entire city is covered,” said the Mayor.

Same was the case with the Congress. Former Congress Mayor Poonam Sharma gave Rs 45 lakh for then city Congress chief and councillor Pardeep Chhabra’s ward in 2015.  She also sanctioned Rs 33 lakh for party councillor Gurbax Rawat’s ward. Before her, her party Mayor HC Kalyan, in 2014, gave Rs 26.31 lakh to Raj Bala Malik’s ward. An amount of Rs 34.09 lakh was issued to Chhabra again for his ward. 

The Mayor has to spend money from the Rs 2 crore discretionary grant on areas other than his ward. 


In 2017, 2 councillors got 65% funds

According to data pertaining to the terms of some of the previous mayors, in 2017, Asha Jaswal spent Rs 80.15 lakh of the total approved Rs 190.87 lakh in the ward of a single councillor, Arun Sood, her “close” BJP colleague. Another whopping Rs 43.2 lakh went to Congress councillor Devinder Singh Babla, who is considered to be on good terms with Jaswal and Sood. The two councillors walked away with about 65 per cent of her total fund even as there are 26 councillors in the House, at present ruled by the BJP. 

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