Booth Scam in Rehri Market Chandigarh, True or Farce?
The magisterial enquiry of ADC PS Shergill that puts the city’s bureaucrats, police officials and the politicians under the scanner has bewildered the city residents. The media has been abuzz with reports emanating from various quarters and statements of politicians of all hues. The alleged implication of Pawan Bansal, Local MP and a Union Minister sheltering the scammers has not been greeted with good taste by ordinary citizens of the city. The issues raised during the election year, elections to the MCC are slated to be held at the end of the year, smacks of tricks of the opposition.
Nevertheless, the issue of allotment of the booths to fire victims needs to be examined in its correct earnestness to place the matter straight. “Allotment/Transfer of Built up Booths in any Sector on Lease/Hire Purchase basis” mandated that the victim must possess a rehri license and Own a rehri, bahongi or Phari and working on it since the issue of the license, not own a commercial site/shop in Union Territory of Chandigarh Mohali or Panchkula, in his own name or in the name of any member of his family dependent total family income from all sources does not exceeds Rs.7500/- per mensum (Rs. Seven Thousand Five Hundred only) for which he shall have to furnish an affidavit duly attested by the Executive Magistrate, Chandigarh to this effect. He/she does not suffer from any contagious disease for which he shall furnish a medical Certificate for fitness.
There is provision for inviting objections through the Public notice for inclusion/deletion of names by the competent authority, In the light of these provisions, repeated surveys conducted by the officials of the estate office smell foul. The moot question is that why this was not taken in account then by the competent authorities. Does the enquiry report take cognizance of this fact? Fires in Rehri Phari markets have occurred on a number of occasions. Was the occurrence of such fires probed thoroughly? Neither the media nor competent authorities have shed any light on this.
In the Krishna Market booth scam, the enquiry attempts to bare the collusion of politicians, police and estate officers. A few names have surfaced and the total focus of the media remained on the person of our Local MP and a union Minister Shri Pawan Bansal who has vehemently denied any kind of involvement much less shielding the booth mafia. Local Congress leaders too have rubbished the report but none seems to pin point as to who was the person to evolve the policy for allotment of booth for rehri vendors.
Fires have happened in every rehri market and demand for pucca booths for the victims surfaced from practically every political party. Thus putting blame on one person and exonerating others by the enquiry does not augur well for the city’s political climate. Politics in government offices is also well known. The rivalries in the offices, though goes unreported, is well established. Unfortunately governance of the city by the deputationists from Punjab and Haryana has also sown seeds of rivalries. We have seen many heads rolling on account of this.
Pawan Bansal demanding an enquiry by the CBI is a sign of his maturity. He has rightly demanded that PS Shergill should be made the complainant. Even otherwise, CBI should take Suo motto cognizance of Bansal’s statement and initiate its proceedings in the case. The Public is eager to know the truth.The CBI should probe the aspect of the issue that relates to the enquiry advisory to stop forthwith any probe by the vigilance department as an attempt by fraudulent allottees to cover up the misdeeds may be attempted. This is short of casting aspirations on officers of administration heading the department.
Public is interested in nailing corruption in public life yet all allegation must come with proofs. Even media should play a constructive role in reporting the matter. Reproducing baseless allegation contained in a report first deserve to be weighed on merit. The scams have become good tools in the hands of rival political parties to defame the other and are designed to secure votes in the ensuing elections.
The enquiry, as reported, did not let Pawan Bansal and Pradeep Chhabra to place their averments before the enquiry officer and it loses its legal sanctity as both Bansal and Chhabra, alleged to be the members of the booth mafia, behold impeccable credentials. Then relying on versions of only two complainants sums up to concocting the issue to defame the eminence of the most popular leader of the city. The CBI investigation will unveil the truth.
Satish Chandra Sharma,
Chandigarh Social Welfare Council, Chandigarh
Cell: 9888 255 128