Almost four months after the municipal corporation (MC) received a grant of Rs 1.74 crore from the Member of Parliament Local Area Development (MPLAD) funds to set up 15 tubewells, it is yet to even prepare a detailed project report (DPR).
Ludhiana member of Parliament (MP) Manish Tewari, who allocated the funds, had recently written to the corporation for delay in utilising the funds, and asked the municipal commissioner to return the funds if the corporation was not interested in utilising them.
In return, mayor Harcharan Singh Gohalwaria had accused Tewari of politicising the issue and claimed that the corporation was spending whatever funds were received under the MPLAD.
Interestingly, on the other hand, MC commissioner Rahul Tewari had admitted to “some delay” in utilising the funds, citing administrative procedures needed to spend the grants under MPLAD, and that time was needed to prepare the DPRs for the work.
According to sources, the corporation had received majority of the funds in June. However, four months later, the corporation has not even prepared the detailed project reports, let alone starting the actual work.
Sources told HT that the amount for 10 tubewells was provided to the corporation on June 27, while for the remaining five, it was provided in September.
Ludhiana District Congress Committee president Pawan Dewan, who coordinates various development activities and allocation of development funds for Tewari, said it was strange that the MC, for reasons best known to it, did not take any initiative to even prepare the DPRs.
On the mayor criticising Tewari for raking up the issue without any reason, Dewan said, “We never claimed to have done any special favour to the people of Ludhiana by sanctioning Rs 1.74 crore for the tubewells, as the mayor has tried to make out. It is just our duty.”
At the same time, he added, “The mayor has failed in his duty and instead of admitting his failure, he is not only being ungrateful, but also trying to hide his incompetence and inefficiency.”
The Congress leader pointed out that even the municipal commissioner had admitted that there was some delay and it was being rectified.
This, Dewan added, made it clear that the mayor was terribly oblivious to the state of affairs in the corporation. “His arrogance comes from his ignorance,” he remarked, while adding, “If he were not ignorant, probably he would not be so arrogant.”
Meanwhile, mayor Harcharan Singh Gohalwaria again denied any deliberate delay in spending funds received under the MPLAD.
“As has been told by other MC officials, it takes time to spend the money as DPRs for the projects are not prepared in a day. I don't know why Tewari Ji has suddenly got hyperactive over this issue and is giving repeated statements against the civic body,” he said.