Tribune News Service
Bathinda, January 22
Irked over the stray animals menace in the city, councillors across parties sat on floor and staged a protest during the General House meeting of the Municipal Corporation held at MC meeting hall here on Wednesday. As the meeting started, councillors started raising slogans, demanding permanent solution to the issue.
Congress councillor Jagroop Singh Gill and Mayor Balwant Rai Nath exchanged heated arguments. But amid all the noise, the Mayor and the Commissioner MC, Bikramjit Singh Shergill, replied to questions raised by councillors. A total of 38 items, out of total 41, in the agenda were approved at the meeting.
At first, Congress councillor Beant Singh Randhawa raised the issue of stray animals and non-lifting of animal carcass in the city. He sat on the floor in protest over the issue. Later, Congress councillors Rajinder Sidhu, Darshan Kumar Billu, Jugraj Singh, Malkit Singh, SAD councilors Harvinder Sharma, Gurbachan Khubban and others joined him. The Mayor tried to pacify the protesters, but they remained adamant.
The Mayor said a proposal to reserve Rs50 lakh in the Budget for compensation to victims of stray cattle menace was discussed in the passed, but no committee was formed to further consider the issue. He suggested formation of a committee to ponder over the proposal. Congress councillor Jagroop Singh Gill said the civic body must involve an insurance company, as the project was not viable for the MC
SAD councillor Rajwinder Singh said: “Whenever the work to lift stray animals from the city begins, it gets stopped midday due to petty politics”. Congress councillors reacted sharply to Rajwinder’s comments and said in the last ten years, the MC had not been able to establish a place for animal carcass. SAD councillor Harvinder Sharma said the work to lift carcasses must be done by MC and not residents.
Harvinder Sharma also alleged that the trans-railway areas were facing problem of sewage overflow. Residents were not able to celebrate Lohri due to this, he said.
Deputy Mayor Gurinderpal Kaur Mangat demanded that families of Army martyrs be given waiver in water, sewerage and property tax bills. SAD councillor Gursewak Mann raised the issue of accumulation of sewer water on roads in Paras Ram Nagar and said the issue would intensify in the coming days. The MC Commissioner said efforts were being made to clear the blockages. Senior Deputy Mayor Tarsem Goyal said an amount of Rs12 crore had been given to Triveni firm for the work.
Later, councillors also raised a demand regarding purchase of two super-sucker machines. The also question as to why estimates for various proposals were not included in agenda items. At the end, the Senior Deputy Mayor asked the councilors to submit their estimates before February 4.
Congress councillor Harmander Singh Sidhu said: “From today’s meeting it is clear that the Mayor, under pressure from the SAD, is not interested in city’s development as he could not answer as to why estimates of development works were not presented at the meeting.” He said the Finance Minister, Manpreet Singh Badal, had directed MC officials to pass proposals regarding development works amounting Rs18 crore and forward these to the state government, so that funds could be allocated in the upcoming state Budget.
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