Demolition drive at Sidhwan Canal Waterfront: Ludhiana MC, forest dept caught in blame game over damage to public property
Even 40 days after the forest department demolished seating areas (marble), cycling and jogging tracks established within one-metre radius of the trees at Sidhwan Canal Waterfront in Sarabha Nagar, the authorities have failed to fix the responsibility of the officials for damage to public property.
MC and forest department at loggerheads
As per the forest department officials, the action was taken on the orders of district court wherein the department was directed to comply with the orders issued by National Green Tribunal (NGT). Last year, the NGT had ordered removal of concrete/tiles installed around 1 metre radius of trees. The petition was filed by the Council of Engineers over alleged damage to the trees due to installation of tiles and pouring concrete around them.
The civic body officials claimed that no notice was issued by the forest department regarding the demolition drive and the department officials also allegedly trespassed into the waterfront by breaking the entry gate lock. The MC officials further said even if the forest department had to comply with the court’s orders, changes should have been made manually to reduce the loss, rather than deploying JCB machines. Claiming that they had availed no-objection certificate (NoC) from the forest department, the municipal authorities questioned why no action was not taken by the forest department when the waterfront was being established.
As per the civic body officials, the action taken by forest department on April 6 damaged public property worth around ₹25 lakh. The project has been established by the municipal corporation (MC) at a cost of ₹4.74-crore under Smart City Mission.
MLA Gurpreet Gogi had also inspected the site and assured that responsibility will be fixed.
An inquiry was marked to MC additional commissioner Aaditya Dachawal, which is still going on.
Mayor Balkar Sandhu said he had written to the then MC commissioner Pardeep Sabharwal to register an FIR against the forest department officials. As he (Sabharwal) has been transferred, he will take up the matter with current MC commissioner Shena Aggarwal, he said.
Gogi said he will be conducting a meeting with Aggarwal soon, and responsibility of the concerned officials will be fixed. Strict departmental action will be recommended against the officials responsible for the same, he said.
Dachalwal said the inquiry is going on and soon, a report will be submitted with the MC commissioner.
MC initiates repair work
The MC officials said for now, the MC has initiated temporary repair work at the waterfront site for convenience of the public as a large number of residents visit the green belt for morning and evening walk, and for spending leisure time.
For the uninitiated, Dhan Mill Compound, a former granary and a cluster of warehouses, has morphed into the city’s modish food, fashion, design and lifestyle destination. Its streets are lined with art cafes, home décor outlets, ateliers, art galleries, pottery studios, dance halls and high-end boutiques, whose facades and interiors are as interesting and experimental as the wares they deal in. Interestingly, all of these fancy establishments are housed in re-purposed warehouse buildings, which still have metal roofs.
According to a Delhi government official, a break-up of the total jobs, including the list of employers and the number of people they hired, will be shared “in a couple of days”. Notably, the government portal was launched by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on July 27, 2020, to help entry-level and blue-collar job seekers connect with employers at a time when the Covid-19 induced lockdown left many people unemployed.
“Manufactures, and start-ups which are working on alternatives to single-use plastic have to pay more GST for raw material. Hence, the Delhi government will write to the Centre and request a reduction in GST rates,” Delhi environment minister Gopal Rai said.
Safdarjung, Delhi’s base weather station, recorded 0.1mm of rainfall between 8:30am and 5:30pm on Sunday. The Capital recorded 1.9mm of rainfall on Saturday and 117.2mm on Friday, making the monthly total 119.2mm so far. The normal monthly average for July is 210.6mm, said weather experts.
Monsoon elevates Adam Khan’s tomb into an emergency sanctuary for passersby (and dogs) speared by sudden showers. Perched atop a Mehrauli hillock, the monument overlooks the Qutub Minar, which appears totally bechara and defenceless in the heavy rain.