Shimla Ward No -10 (Ramnagar) – A victim to political & personal vendetta
When HW talked to the councilor of the ward, we were amazed at his poor knowledge about the public grievances and facilities in his ward. To most of the issues he responded with answers like “ Mujhe is bare main jyada pata nahi hai” or “ main is taraf ayaa nahi” or “ Logon ne mujhe is bare main kuch bataya nahi”.
SHIMLA- Some of the residents of the Ward No -10 approached everyone from Mayor to the Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh with their plea to pay some attention to the poor condition of public facilities in their ward. They were told that letters have been forwarded to the responsible officials, but not much was done in reality.
After this disappointment, a few days ago, a resident of Ramnagar (Ward No -10) in Shimla wrote to HW and reported irregularities in the utilization of MP and MLA funds. The reader sent a couple of images showing the condition of the ambulance road, which is about 450 meters in length from the main bypass road. It’s the only road that connects Ramnagar to the main road.
The road is in a very poor condition complemented by absence of any drainage facility. All the waste water from residential buildings flow right onto road, and it acts as a catalyst for already decaying road condition. The surrounding is a witness of typical Indian littering habits.
HW visited Ward No -10 and found out that the area literally stinks. HW talked to some of the residents, the councilor, and Ramnagar Vikas Manch. We also talked to the SDM, Shimla (U) G.C. Negi regarding the issue, and what we found out was a mess of political drama, personal vendetta against each other, and a stink of corruption.
From the year 2009, about Rs. 45 lakhs has been sanctioned from MP and MLA funds for the maintenance of the road along with the construction of drainage. Out of the total fund, Rs. 8 lakh was sanctioned by SDM (U) for the tarring of the road.
The task was assigned to a contractor, about whom nobody knows much except the SDM. Ironically, the contractor gave up after sometime saying he is out of money. Then the locals collected Rs.10, 000 each and reinforced the contractor. The road was tarred in December 2013, and the contractor returned the money he had borrowed from these residents.
However, the road couldn’t stand even three months. Presently, as year 2014 is about to end, the road is in even worse condition as no one bothered for its maintenance.
The poor quality of tarring material used by the contractor is one factor for such short lifespan of the road. Surprisingly, the tarring work was conducted in winters, in the month of December. Some residents stressed on such a poor decision, and impatience of a group of residents who compelled the contractor to tar the road in extreme cold weather conditions.
Summers, when the sunlight is more heated, is considered to be the best time for tarring work. When we talked to councilor of the ward, we were amazed at his poor knowledge about the public grievances and facilities in his ward. To most of the issues he responded with answers like “ Mujhe is bare main jyada pata nahi hai” or “ main is taraf ayaa nahi” or “ Logon ne mujhse is bare main kuch bataya nahi”.
He seems to have failed the sole purpose of electing a councilor. In nutshell, a councilor is meant to represent all the people under his ward. He is ought to keep an eye on everything going on in his ward.
Then, there are 4-5 unattended vehicles on the roadside. No one knows to whom these cars belong. The residents had approached Shimla police expressing their doubt about the cars and the congestion caused by them. No action was reported on their complaint. The councilor, as expects, denied any knowledge about the presence of such cars on the less than half kilometer road leading to his ward.
Some of the residents including Vikas Manch members told HW that garbage pickers aren’t available here and the MC vehicle hardly pick it up once in a week. There were some others who were very sure that the MC vehicle visits every morning and that door-to-door garbage collector do come every day.
However, we could see garbage bags hanged from trees. It was an odd sight, but we were told that this is the way garbage is collected in society and hanged from trees so that the dogs do not litter it. Well, what about the monkeys? That means there are no garbage containers or caged booths like we seeing in some parts of Shimla city.
The road is waiting to be undertaken by Shimla Municipal Corporation, but hasn’t yet received the required NOCs. All residents are desperate to see the day when it’ll happen.
Some of the residents have even spent money from their pockets to construct drainage system in front of their homes. As it happened, one of the resident families had a wedding, and the ugly, slippery, and stinking road in front of their house bothered them to such an extent that they spent from their pockets so that this ugly scene could be corrected. Of course, it would have been an unpleasant sight for a wedding venue.
Anyway, let’s come to the matters related to sanctioned funds. Out of those 40-45 lakhs, only one and half lakh remains after spending all the money. However, the ward did not get a properly tarred road and nothing was spent on drainage system. The residents are walking on this stinking road from past year, but they received what a common man should expect from their representatives and the Govt. – a bone to chew. Then, what happened to the funds? We aren’t sure yet, but we would love to collect some authenticated information regarding the actual expenditure on the development of the ward.
The Ramnagar Vikas Manch members are satisfied with the efforts of the SDM, and one of them could be heard saying that SDM gave his best for the ward, but that doesn’t seem so. Other than these members, people aren’t satisfied at all.
When the Shimla SDM (U) was asked regarding the grievance of the residents, we received assuring comments. However, the SDM expressed his inability to sort out personal vendettas of the residents and the trouble that locals created in the enlargement of the road as it would have passed through their land.
We don’t have a clear and direct conclusion to end the article except that the Ward No -10 is in a very poor condition and the residents are suffering. However, what hurts more than the half-hearted efforts of the Govt. officials and Shimla MC, is the differences between the members of the same society. They are divided into groups based on political interests and influences. Some of these people are actually concerned about the issues, but most of them, as usually, are foolish enough not to stand for the common good of all.
Photos/Videos : Tarun Sharma