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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Ghaziabad to show its road rage

RTI Query Reveals Lakhs Spent On ‘Repairing’ Roads Which Are Still Potholed, Residents Say They Won’t Pay House Tax
Nidhi Sharma TNN: New Delhi: Look at the pictures. Do you think Rs 40 lakh have been spent on repairing these roads? Well, if Ghaziabad Municipal Corporation (GMC) is to be believed, these roads have been repaired and resurfaced over the last two years and it has spent Rs 40.26 lakh to be precise in repairing these roads in Kaushambi. Shocked? The residents of housing societies in Kaushambi, who had spent their life’s savings in buying flats in the area, are more than shocked. The poor state of roads made the residents file an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005, to see how much money has been spent on the upkeep of roads. Magsaysay award winner and a resident of the area, Arvind Kejriwal, had to battle with the authorities for incomplete information. And finally when some information did come about on the roads, he was shocked to find that the corporation had spent Rs 40.26 lakh in two years on repair of these roads, that resemble the crater-ridden moon surface. Not just this, there is no account of an additional Rs 1.77 crore, meant only for dense carpeting of roads. Residents, however, say that they have not seen any repair work in the area. N Rajamani, a resident of Shipra Apartments, says: ‘‘We moved in the locality six years back from Saket. At that time the roads were good and the area was clean. Now every agency comes and digs up the roads but there are no repairs. We have not seen any repair work or dense carpeting in the last two years. Sometimes, we see some patch work being done with gravel but no other resurfacing has been done.’’ As per the reply given by the corporation, two agencies — including Bharti Cellular — had dug up Kaushambi roads in 2004 and deposited Rs 40.26 lakh for road repair, which GMC had to undertake. When Kejriwal asked in his application for details of how the money was spent, the corporation replied that there is no break-up available and money was spent from October 2004 till 2006. The colony was handed over by Ghaziabad Development Authority (GDA) to GMC in 2004. With it, GDA transferred Rs 3.33 crore for developmental works like road repair, streetlighting and sanitation works. This amount included about Rs 1.77 crore for road repairs and resurfacing only for the colony. So far, GMC has not given any account if this money has been spent or not. K K Sehgal, president of Kaushambi Apartments Resident Welfare Association (KARWA), says: ‘‘Why should we pay house tax? The corporation is not spending anything on roads or giving any facilities. We have been pursuing several issues but nothing has been done. Now we plan to launch a stir.’’
Publication: Times Of India Delhi; Date:2007 Feb 24; Section:Times City; Page Number 2

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