Having received low response from voters in Bathinda (urban) assembly segment during the parliamentary elections, the local Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) MLA and chief parliamentary secretary (CPS), excise and taxation, Sarup Chand Singla, seems to have come into a damage-control mode.
With the aim of improving the image of the government among the people in the city, Singla raided the office of the municipal corporation here on Monday morning and checked the attendance registers, presence of employees and other record related to the services rendered by the urban body.
Singla, during going through some record about streetlights, suspected anomalies in the installation of streetlights in the city and asked the deputy commissioner Basant Garg to initiate an inquiry into the matter.
The CPS, to check if the streetlights have actually been installed as is shown in the records, called some of the complainants at their phone numbers and found that the numbers mentioned in the complaints were non-existent and bogus, indicating that the material used to address these complaints was misutilised and was shown to have been used only in papers.
Most of the equipment mentioned in the stock register was also not found in the store.
Interestingly, Singla ordered the sealing of the store till the inquiry was completed, but the MCB staff opened it after some time. Probably, it was an attempt by the staff to rectify the errors in the record to avoid any action.
The CPS said that as major anomalies have emerged in the inspection, the district administration has been asked to start an inquiry. He said that he would also ask for a vigilance bureau inquiry into the matter and book the culprits responsible for it.
Garg has asked tehsildar Harsharanjeet Singh to inquire into the matter. Singh said that he has taken record of the store in his possession and the inquiry will be complete within two days. He said that the CPS had asked to seal the store initially but, with a purpose to carry on the inquiry, he had asked him to carry the keys of the store with him till the inquiry was completed.
The exercise is being seen as an attempt by the local MLA to turn the tide in his favour in the assembly constituency as Bathinda MP and SAD-BJP alliance candidate Harsimrat Kaur Badal trailed by over 29, 000 votes against Congress candidate Manpreet Singh Badal in this assembly segment in the parliament elections.