Chandigarh, November 20
Even as incumbent Mayor Sarbjit Kaur, like most of her predecessors, has chosen not to shift to the Sector 24 official residence, the Municipal Corporation is yet again set to spend lakhs of rupees on its annual maintenance and repair.
Barring a handful Mayors who have occupied the residence during their tenure, the property, spread over one kanal, has remained as a temporary camp office for most incumbents. As a result, lakhs of rupees are spent every year on its upkeep.
During former Mayor Davesh Moudgil’s tenure in 2018, Rs 16 lakh was spent on the makeover of the residence. Next year, when Rajesh Kalia assumed charge, Rs 3 lakh was spent on the house. The amount was used on whitewash, dry cleaning curtains and replacing sofa covers.
His successor in 2020, Raj Bala Malik, did not shift either and used the premises only as a temporary camp office. The figures of expenditure during 2020 and 2021 are currently unavailable.
Questioning the rationale behind spending lakhs of rupees on the residence, especially when it remains unoccupied, Congress councillor Gupreet Singh Gabi says: “Only necessary works should be carried out. Entire work should be done once every two-three years. Each time a new Mayor assumes office, they can’t ask for a change in sofa colour or design. It’s waste of public money.” Sources say whitewash and other recommended jobs are carried out every time a new Mayor takes over.
Justifying the Rs 6.64-lakh expenditure to be incurred now, the Mayor says: “The furniture was not in good condition. So I had asked for the work. It is our camp office and all meetings are held here.”
Unlike Mohali and Panchkula, UT Mayor’s tenure is only for one year. Since most of the incumbents have houses in the city, they find it impractical to shift to the official residence for such a short period.
Only five have moved in since 1996
Since the formation of the MC in 1996, only five Mayors — Kewal Kishan Adiwal, Kamlesh, Rajesh Kalia, Davesh Moudgil and Ravi Kant Sharma — have occupied the house during their respective tenures
Rs 16L spent on makeover during Davesh Moudgil’s tenure in 2018Rs 3L spent on whitewash, replacing sofa covers during Rajesh Kalia’s termSpending during 2020 amp; 2021 (Raj Bala amp; Ravi Kant Sharma’s terms) is unavailable
Works to be carried out
Repair of sofa set, double bed, almirahs, kitchen cabinet, etcWater proofing of rooftop, sidewalls of kitchen, toiletsWoodwork in frames of doors, windows, clerestory windows and othersFixing of flush door shutters (completely smooth on both sides)Laying of vitrified floor tilesPlastic emulsion paint; synthetic enamel paint on wallsFinishing walls with acrylic smooth exterior paint/ textured exterior paintMirror polishing on marble work/granite work/stone workFixing of vinyl or polyester textile wallpapers
Meetings held in it
The furniture was not in good condition. So I had asked for the job. It is our camp office and all meetings are held here. — Sarbjit Kaur, Mayor