Inaccessible, invisible, say residents; councillor flags work done amid Covid

Initially, we thought it must be his learning phase but he remained like this. He was inaccessible, he wouldn’t reply to WhatsApp messages of residents. Development has taken a backseat. Even the open-air gyms he got installed were not maintained”— ashwani gupta resident of sector 8

All these five years, the BJP’s Mahesh Inder Singh Sidhu was hardly seen in his ward no. 1, complain residents.

This 37-year-old councillor was chosen as the face of posh area of the city from ward no. 1 — sectors 1 to 11 — by the party. He had won by defeating the Congress’s Harmohinder Singh Lucky by a margin of 324 votes.

Everyone thought Sidhu, a soft-spoken young lawyer, was a silent worker.But for some residents, he turned out to be exactly opposite.

Sidhu’s presence hardly mattered in the General House as he did not speak. Maybe he spoke just three-four times in 60 House meetings. He would calmly sit choosing to patiently witness when his fellow councillors fought — this is how Sidhu spent his five years in the corporation.

Ashwani Gupta, a resident of Sector 8, said, “Initially, we thought it must be his learning phase but he remained like this. He was inaccessible, he wouldn’t reply to WhatsApp messages of residents.
Development has taken a backseat. Even the open-air gyms he got installed were not maintained. If this VIP ward remains with him for more years, it would turn into Burail.”

Gupta added, “For things like safai in the ward, you don’t need funds. You got to move around in the ward so that sweepers actually work to clean the ward.”

Lucky, who was Sidhu’s contender, said that people of the ward were left disappointed. “No major project came up all these years in our ward. If digging was done, trenches were left as it is. Green belts were developed but not maintained. It has been a total failure of his. You go and see the back lanes. They are completely in a mess. You see the condition of the park near his own house,” Lucky said.

However, there are some who are all praise for Sidhu. “He is hardworking and honest. He visits every nook and corner of the ward helping with works like street lights, road repair and recarpeting, back lanes cleaning and repair. We all thank him for his vision and a helping hand,” said Gursewak Singh Brar, secretary of Sector 8 Residents’ Welfare Association.

However, keeping quiet and not taking sides with the councillors worked for Sidhu as in 2021, he became the Senior Deputy Mayor.

Even as the infighting within the BJP was quite evident in the General House, the maximum Sidhu would do was just stand, but never spoke a word.

During COVID, Sidhu formed a team of volunteers to help deliver ration to people in his ward. He made WhatsApp groups with members of Residents’ Welfare Associations and would keep them updated about every information on the administrative decision being taken during the curfew.

While speaking about his help during COVID, Sidhu said, “During corona period, I kept in regular touch with all the ward residents through mobile, WhatsApp and Twitter. All guidelines of the government were regularly shared with all the residents. I also ensured the supply of milk, vegetables, fruits and medicines to all during the lockdown. Rather, I personally delivered cooked food daily to around 50 people in the afternoon and evening.”

Sidhu stated that he coordinated with the medical staff for needs of the residents and ensured and regularly monitored that each sector in his ward was sanitised once every week.

“Even now and then I keep sending messages to residents who still haven’t got themselves vaccinated to motivate them to get the same done,” he said.

However, the Opposition claims that he just forwarded messages of administration but did not physically help residents with food and essential commodities.

Sidhu’s spending of the ward development fund remained better than other councillors. In 2021 too he has got works approved worth Rs 75.41 lakh so far.

2 new green belts developed, one more coming up in Sector 10.
10 open-air gyms and children’s play equipment installed in various sectors of ward no. 1 and two more coming up.
7 new toilets constructed in various green belts and one more coming up.
New tertiary treated water pipelines network laid in all sectors of his ward and individual connections given to nearly most of the 1 kanal and above houses.
New walking tracks being laid in nine neighbourhood parks in different sectors in his ward and through-ways being laid in five small parks.
Toewalls constructed in all parks and green belts in the ward.
Rear service lanes are being re-concretised in all sectors of the ward and a few have been completed.
All internal and external roads recarpeted and a few remaining would be completed in the next two months.
New high-mast lights installed in three green belts and one more coming up.
427 new lights installed in the dark spots.
221 existing garden lights replaced with LED fittings.
About 2,350 existing streetlights on various roads replaced with LED fittings.
Pushed for the construction of a mini-sports complex in Sector 8 govt school with the Chandigarh Administration through MP Kirron Kher, which is now open with badminton courts and swimming pool.
Sector 8 civil dispensary renovated in 2017.
Held review meetings with all ward no. 1 officials once every week or 10 days. Also, regular meetings are held with RWAs and MWAs.

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