The Department of Local Bodies has dismissed senior town planner (STP) Hemant Batra for allowing violation of building by-laws and unauthorised conversion concerning the “galiara” project in Amritsar.Batra had served as STP in all major cities during the SAD-BJP government. He was posted as chief town planner of Punjab in Chandigarh in December last year. He was transferred as STP (Moga) after the Congress government took over earlier this year.Batra had also faced departmental enquiries in 2007-08 on the charges of corruption when he was municipal town planner (MTP).In another development, assistant town planners (ATPs) Banke Bihari and Rajinder Sharma and Building Inspector Harjinder Singh have been demoted one rank below their present post. A penalty equivalent to 50 per cent pension for three years has been imposed on retired STP Shakti Sagar Bhatia, MTP Des Raj, ATPs Surjit Singh, Ramesh Chandra, Suresh Raj and Manohar Singh Bhatti and building inspector Michel.An official spokesperson said as many as 33 officials who dealt with issues regarding the “galiara” project were charge-sheeted for dereliction of duty and violation of the Municipal Corporation Act and Rules.Inquiry officer former Additional District Judge BC Gupta had submitted his report in January 2016. The inquiry was conducted in pursuant to the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court into alleged violations of building by-laws for unauthorised conversion of residential buildings into hotels, serais and guest houses in and around the area of galiara.After taking charge earlier this year, Sidhu gave personal hearing to all officials. The officials failed to refute charges of dereliction of duty and were handed over their punishment “with a clear message seeking officers to discharge their duties in an honest, transparent manner”.
18 Jul 2019
19 Jul 2019