On February 22, when the city elects its first municipal corporation, the Akali-BJP alliance and the Congress will be a little afraid of a “third front” of 88 selling bucket (the symbol allotted to every independent) to the thirsting voters.
The Congress has declared its candidates for 49 of the 50 wards, while the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have agreed on a 33-17 seat-sharing formula after much bickering that forced a couple of nominees to return ticket and turn independents along with many.
Businessman Kulwant Singh emerged as the biggest voice of dissent, with 36 other Akalis following him to contest as independents. A long-time SAD associate who was also party’s candidate for the Lok Sabha seat in Fatehgarh Sahib in 2014, he rebelled when members of his faction were denied ticket.
At loggerheads with senior Akali leader Balwant Singh Ramoowalia and Prem Singh Chandumajra, party MP from Anandpur Sahib, Kulwant Singh has now gone anti-Akali to the extent that even his sons, Sarabjeet Singh and Manpreet Singh, have given up the SAD ticket to go independent like their father.
The SAD had another setback when its ward 49 candidate Gurnam Bindra Singh had his papers rejected. In this ward, Kulwant Singh is running as independent and his son was earlier a covering candidate. In ward 25, where Kulwant’s other son, Sarabjeet Singh, is an independent, the SAD’s Gurjit Singh Malhi has withdrawn his nomination. The Akali leadership says Malhi was pulled out of the race over serious criminal charges but it is shy of explaining why he was picked up in the first place. Even the Congress, short of mass leaders, is worried less about the Akalis and more about the 88 independents in the fray. Its top leadership believes the battle is half lost by the internal rift. firstname.lastname@example.org
The city has waited eternally for a waste-dumping ground. In 2008, a proposal was made, but Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) is yet to acquire the land for the project. Garbage is being dumped in several residential neighbourhoods now.
Garbage collection is another issue, since the waste is not cleared for days together. Even the national green tribunal in Delhi pulled up the district administration on the issue and gave GMADA another year to acquire land for dumping ground.
Stray cattle on dark streets
The MC had failed to contain stray cattle. In November 2014, a woman from Phase-9 here was killed when her scooter crashed into free-roaming cattle at Kumbra village. The residents are clear that they want those contesting to look into the issue. Dark inner roads at night make it difficult to spot the 2,000 stray cattle on the roads in the absence of streetlight. The city’s lone cattle pound is packed beyond capacity and the civic body has no land, so far, to build another.
Bad roads, little parking space
The disintegrating roads, in the industrial area especially, and scarce parking space have boiled into major issues.
In the absence of a proper regulating system, the markets of Phases 11, 10, 5, 7, and 9 are scenes of haphazard parking all day. The proposed paid-parking system remains to be implemented, while the free space behind the markets remains unused.
Every summer, the city runs short of 12 million gallon per day (MGD) of water. It gets almost the same quantity (13 million gallon per day) that it got a decade ago, even when the population (now nearly 3.25 lakh) has almost doubled since. Its total water requirement is 26 MGD, and with new mega housing projects such as Eco City, Aero City, IT Park, and Medi City coming up, is only going to grow. The civic body claims it is laying new pipes; yet this summer, the picture isn’t likely to change.
The city’s garbage collection system is not up to the mark. We as residents want to keep the city clean but there is no proper mechanism to help us do this. I want the councillors who will be elected to focus on this and make the city garbage-free. Simarjit Kaur, housewife, Ph-3B2 resident.
The issue that irks me the most is bad roads. Those contesting should have their focus on this aspect. Punjab’s most modern city should have roads matching up to the standard. The inner roads in the residential areas require maximum repair. Abhijeet Dhillon, assistant manager, IBM Daksh, Ph-3B1 resident.
Water is a major issue, and in summer especially, we have a huge shortage of it. Our roads get waterlogged during the rains, as there is no proper sewerage. I want the people who will be elected to work on laying sewers and providing us with water. Tarundeep Singh, commercial pilot, Phase-5 resident.
Our ward has seen good development in the past but the maintenance of parks is now neglected and the floor tiles are coming off at the different places. Huge money was wasted on those and yet these were laid asymmetrically. I want accessible councillors. Deepak Verma, businessman, Phase-3A resident.