CHANDIGARH MP Kirron Kher Wednesday alleged that the erstwhile set of officials in the Administration had not informed or consulted her or about any development in the city or even about the functions of the government that were taking place here. She also alleged that she was not getting credit for the work that she implemented.
Former Adviser Vijay Kumar Dev was ‘ousted’ suddenly in March this year after completing around 14 months of his tenure. During his stint in Chandigarh, Dev had been on an inauguration spree and also attended more functions than his predecessors. In March, apart from the Adviser, all the SDMs were also transferred.
Kher, however, said, “Mr Vijay Dev was very nice to me. He met me nicely. I had a bond with the family. [But] It is also true that I never got to know anything. I was not involved at all on the administrative side. I feel that when people question me on what is happening in the city, I should have been consulted and told what is happening. I cannot go and sit everyday to the Secretariat to ask.”
Kher said she gave several suggestions to Dev, his predecessor K K Sharma as well as the Administrator during the meeting of the advisory council. She says, “There were 20-25 points that were given about what was necessary. When he [Dev] came to the first meeting, all the suggestions were discussed. He was positive. Then I saw that a lot of things that I had suggested kept happening, but my name never came up. It was not a new thing. I was used to it. I thought that work should get done. I was here for months, but did not get to know anything.”
The Chandigarh MP claimed that she was also “not taken on board on the issue of Smart City.” She said when people asked her about the city not getting the smart city tag, she said that the administration should be asked as she was never consulted.
“This time, it is completely different. We have got professionals to make the project and Mr Parimal Rai has kept me on board on this. I know the project that has gone. I know the plus points. I got a basis to fight for it at the Centre. We have made a proposal for smart city from scratch. [It was ] Only in Chandigarh [that] professionals were not earlier hired for the work,” she said, expressing hope that this time, Chandigarh would get the Smart City tag.
‘I am in a good place now’
When asked about her tenure nearing two years of completion, Kher said, “It has been a roller coaster ride. There has been a better year, there has been a hump. We have overcome the hump and moved on to better things. It’s a first for me for politics. I am not a political animal. Politically, I had a lot to learn and I feel my attitude has been direct always. The less said the better. Just let it wash over you. This too shall pass. It passes on its own.”She adds, “You realise people in a city like Chandigarh have limited access where politics is concerned. There are just certain things they can achieve and everybody is fighting for similar positions which for me is strange. But then I come from a different kind of mindset. I am in a good place now.”
‘Solanki doing a good job’
When asked if Chandigarh would get a new administrator soon, as the incumbent Prof Kaptan Singh Solanki is now holding additional charge, Kher said he was doing a “good job” and had cleared many projects for Chandigarh, including the new grain market and an upgrade of the railway station.
‘Should avoid budget cuts’
Kher said the Centre feels that Chandigarh is “spoilt” and that people do not want to pay tax on property or water.
“I have said our budget should not be cut as there are many projects that might get stalled. One of the reasons was that the engineering department kept returning unused funds. I kept asking them not to do this and use the money as otherwise there will be a budget cut. The same thing happened,” she said. She said apart from laying of pipeline for additional water from Kajauli Water Works and underground electricity wires for Chandigarh, she wants a film institute to be set up here.
‘Not for Metro’
Kher said she was not in favour of Metro for Chandigarh. Instead, she said, a ring road should be built around Chandigarh and added that she had spoken to Union Minister Nitin Gadkari. This will ensure that traffic from Panchkula and Mohali does not have to enter Chandigarh.