'Future City' was the soubriquet Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Badal gave SAS Nagar in 2007, a year after the town was declared a district in April 2006. But six years on it seems a mere rhetoric.
Basic amenities lack in most parts of the town. The worst of is the town's industrial area, comprising Phase 7 and 8. The area is considered as a developing IT hub by the state government, yet poor lighting, potholed roads, non-existent public transport -only one bus plies in the area - and lack of security for women continue to be its shortcomings.
Richa, a former employee of an IT firm in SAS Nagar, left her job because of poor police patrolling and lack of public transport. "I had to walk all the way to PTL Chowk to get an auto-rickshaw. After 6 pm, it used to get dark," says Richa, "In the absence of proper police patrolling, it used to get scary."
The presence of a nearby liquor vend in Phase 8-B, says the HR manager of a SAS Nagar company, adds to paranoia of women. "There are no streetlights, and the fact that there is a liquor vend in this area makes us feel all the more scared," says Nimrat Deep, the HR manager of Clicklabs. "I have to travel till Sector 70, yet I don't feel safe while going home at night."
Asked about problems being faced by working women, senior superintendent police (SSP) Gurpreet Singh Bhullar says they are already focusing on safety of women and have implemented measures for better policing. "But we will definitely step up the vigil if women feel more patrolling will help," he says.
Most of the people HT spoke to demand better connectivity. Sumeet Soni, CEO of a SAS Nagar-based IT company, says there should be more connectivity in the area. His partners, AmritPal Singh and Harpreet Singh, second his sentiments. Contacted, deputy commissioner Varun Roojam admitted that roads were in a bad shape. "They get worse after rains," he says and adds that he has spoken to authorities concerned and repairs would be carried out soon. "Necessary directions have already been given."
Mohali Industries Association president Anurag Aggarwal agrees that public transportation is a concern. "Also, the liquor vend should be removed," he says.
The road leading to industrial area is also full of potholes, causing inconvenience to commuters. The absence of signboards, too, is a problem. Moderate rainfall in the past week has added to the wear and tear of roads in certain parts of industrial area. The bad condition of roads, most people HT spoke to say, can be attributed to the lack of maintenance by the civic body."Repairs are required in certain parts of industrial area, urgently," says Arun Jalota, an employee of Clicklabs.
"I being a taxpayer would like to know why the road here is in such bad shape?" asks Sakshi Arora, PR executive in one of the IT firms.