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Apna Chandigarh....

Chandigarh is the manifestation of the passionate desire of India's first Prime Minister, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru to build a new city that becomes a symbol of modern resurgent India and represents the nation's faith in the future.

Chandigarh – the City Beautiful is a dream land for every Indian, whether it be for its planned architecture or extensive green cover or quality education and health care facilities that it has offered.

As Chandigarh's representative in the Lok Sabha in the past, I strove to quicken the pace of City's development through greatly enhanced rail/air connectivity, increased employment opportunities in the services sector, particularly IT, upgraded social infrastructure, development of beautiful parks with walkways in all sectors, widening of roads, new Community Centers, many proud additions to PGI & scaling-up of health services elsewhere and improved quality of education in government schools (including a few Smart Schools). For higher education, the city has indeed become a hub in the northern region.

My efforts succeeded in getting good enhancement every year in Budget allocation for the Union Territory (from Rs.1036.77 crores in 2003-04 to Rs.3669.15 crores in 2013-14) without which many development projects in Chandigarh would not have fructified. Plan allocation alone rose from Rs.167.79 crores to Rs.839.01 crores during this period, a five fold increase.

Chandigarh is now home to over a million people. However, it is also confronted with various issues including increasing volume of traffic, leading to congestion and increased pollution at some traffic hot spots increasing demand of water and electricity; additional construction in dwelling units; employment to the youth; security and safety of the citizens in a crime free city and Mass Rapid Transport System for the tricity and beyond.

Not long ago, Chandigarh with senior citizens leading a quiet, retired life here was also associated with the empty nest syndrome. That was when youngsters, once equipped with the requisite educational qualifications, flew off to golden shores and greener pastures for lucrative jobs. Despite being a coveted educational Centre, the City could not retain its educated youth for lack of job opportunities. Now, the city is happily soaring towards a reverse brain drain and not just those who belong to Chandigarh but also those with high caliber and talent from elsewhere are coming here in pursuit of excellence and success. As the City offers new vistas, I see on the horizon good jobs and quality life. With family members staying back, the elderly are relieved of their loneliness and age related concerns. With the per capita income of the middle classes increasing steadily, the City is poised for a concomitant growth of disposable income of this important section of society.

The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world, or so goes the adage. Somewhere along the way, we seem to have lost the significance of that hand and today sadly, women are not accorded their due place in society. Congress has endeavored to bring about a marked difference in this attitude and thought. And the UPA government took effective steps to benefit women in the country. With Chandigarh having the highest number of working couples, the emphasis has to be on women's education, security, safety and independence. Women in the slums and labour colonies constitute an important part of our social structure and work force. Whether it is the anganwaadi worker or the housewife, we have to have capacity building centres such as vocational training and adult education centres and also tap skilled labour among women at home and facilitate market linkages for goods produced by them.

What follows is an account of the various works that I, as Member of Lok Sabha from Chandigarh, could, with the support of fellow Chandigarhians, facilitate in realizing for 'Apna Chandigarh'. I would greatfully welcome your suggestions for any correction or improvement therin.

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