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MC Moves to Cancel Contract, Take Possession Of Land

The anger appears to have boiled over. The Municipal Corporation Chandigarh, on a collision course with JP Associates for some time now over the unsatisfactory operation of the municipal solid waste management plant in Dadumajra village, has finally resolved to cancel the contract and take physical possession of the land. A special session of the MC House called to discuss the future course of action, on Thursday, unanimously decided to take the extreme step, saying enough is enough.

The decision was taken with a show of hands by the elected councillors of all parties – BJP, Congress and lone independent – as also nominated councillors after an animated discussion. A committee of councillors and officers, headed by the Mayor Asha Kumari Jaswal, was formed to decide on ways and means to cancel the contract with JP Associates.

MC Moves to Cancel Contract, Take Possession Of Land, Lifeinchd
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rnMayor Asha Kumari Jaswal is amused as MC Commissioner Kavita Singh and Secretary Manoj Khatri look on

PHOTOS BY: LIFE IN CHANDIGARH

Later a delegation of councillors met Punjab Governor and UT Chandigarh Administer VP Singh Badnore, who is understood to have assured to go with the decision of the House. The delegation also met District Magistrate Ajit Balaji Joshi seeking to take over possession of the land from the company. The DM is learnt to have called a meeting on June 9 to decide on the matter after scrutinising all relevant documents, including the MoU signed between the MC and JP Associates.
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rnDuring the discussion on the subject, councillors closed ranks to demand an immediate and permanent solution to the problem, which had posed a serious hazard to the health and well being of some 50,000 residents living around the dumping site in Dadumajra. Because of inadequate to no processing of garbage in the plant at different times, the stench from the dumping ground was becoming unbearable for residents, who were forced to live with mosquitoes and flies.

MC Moves to Cancel Contract, Take Possession Of Land, Lifeinchd

 Former Mayor Arun Sood makes a point

While various suggestions were being elicited from individual councillors on how best to deal with the situation, a suggestion from former Mayor Arun Sood for direct and immediate action found favour with the entire House baying for the company’s blood. It was thereafter resolved to pursue with the UT Administration to take physical possession of the land and to set in motion the process of appointing a consultant to look at various alternatives, including setting up composting facilities and garbage to energy conversion plant or garbage to methane gas conversion plant.
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rnConceding that there was a gulf between what the company had promised and what it had delivered on setting up the machinery for the garbage processing plant more than a decade ago during the time when the Congress was ruling the MC, one of the four party councillors in the House, Devinder Singh Babla said he was one with the House in demanding cancellation of the contract with the company and taking possession of the land. He even demanded blacklisting of JP Associates.

MC Moves to Cancel Contract, Take Possession Of Land, Lifeinchd

Devinder Singh Babla (Congress) on his feet with other party councillors

At the same time, he sought an inquiry into the functioning of the sanitary contractor, whom the MC was paying Rs 6.5 crore per month, for unsatisfactory work. He pointed out that even the local BJP MP Kirron Kher had expressed her displeasure over the functioning of the contractor, which she felt was one of the reasons why UT Chandigarh had slid from 2nd rank to 11th in the country in the Swachh survey.
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rnRegarding ulterior motives being emoted into grant of contract to JP Associates in a hurry at the behest of then Congress MP of Chandigarh Pawan Kumar Bansal, he asserted “Let the MoU be circulated in the House and discussed threadbare to fix responsibility for lapses, if any, following which action should be taken against anyone found guilty on this score.”
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rnAmong other councillors who vent their ire on the functioning of JP Associates were Rajesh Kumar, Raj Bala Malik, Davesh Moudgil, Anil Kumar Dube, Vinod Aggarwal, Gurpreet Singh Dhillon, Shakti Prakash Devshali and  Maheshinder Singh Sidhu. Nominated councillors Dr. Jyotsna Wig, Kamla Sharma, Ajay Dutta and Maj. Gen. (retd) MS Kandal also spoke their mind.

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