A day after castigating the state government for scuttling his developmental projects, BJP MP Navjot Singh Sidhu has said that he will fight for every penny that "the government either intends to take away or has taken away from Amritsar".
He has sought the support of all political parties and the citizens of Amritsar to his cause, saying the money that belongs to the holy city should stay in Amritsar.
"In the past couple of years, the government spent Rs. 60 crore of Amritsar Improvement Trust (AIT) elsewhere," he told HT just before his departure for the national capital on Friday, adding: "In this fiscal year alone, it took away Rs. 20 crore."
"This is illegal and criminal, as the AIT is a trust for the development of the holy city. You just cannot take away the money of a trust and spend it outside," the local parliamentarian said. He iterated that the municipal corporation (MC) was bankrupt and the AIT's was the only money the city had for improving its civic conditions.
"How can you take away our money for a cancer hospital outside, when our people are not even getting clean drinking water. Our streets are littered with rubbish, drains are choked and our citizens don't have a healthy environment," Sidhu said, referring to the solid waste management project that has failed to take off.
The government had made no effort to improve the facilities for tourists and pilgrims in Amritsar. "One of the most visited places in the country lacks infrastructure," he said. "Amritsar is our Vatican, our Mecca, and this Guru Ghar should have the best facilities. The government should advertise Punjab through Amritsar," he added.
The MP advised all political leaders of the city to leave the "mera-tera" (mine and your) attitude and view Amritsar as "our city, for which we have to work jointly". The government needed to market Punjab's spiritual and cultural capital to the world by making money available for development, he added.