Even as the Amritsar district administration and the municipal corporation went overboard to spruce up the areas and roads through which Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cavalcade passed, other areas of the city are still crying for their attention.
Many city roads, which had been dug up for various developmental projects, were patched up, road sides cleaned and median strips and roundabouts painted to greet the PM on his arrival to the holy city on Monday.
Lakhs of rupees were spent to present a shiny city before Modi. The Amritsar Improvement Trust spent around Rs 6 lakh to repair the road outside Durgiana Temple, where Modi paid his obeisance, while a patchwork was done on Bhandari Bridge.
In their attempt to impress the VIP visitors, the authorities concerned removed a divider near the Hathi Gate crossing, exposing the traffic to danger.
The authorities desire to impress the PM could be gauged from the fact that the civic body pressed its entire machinery to clean the city, which otherwise faces a chronic garbage lifting and disposal problem. However, despite their effort, heaps of garbage continued to exist in those areas where the PM’s cavalcade was not scheduled to traverse.
Areas falling along the route from Sri Guru Ram Dass Jee International Airport to the Golden Temple and Durgiana Temple were cleaned and roads patched up, while areas such as Indira Colony, Dhapai Road, Haripura and others were ignored.
Far from being sanitised, these areas witness stagnant puddles of water whether it’s raining or not, which is particularly true of Ekta Nagar, where houses are situated in the midst of such puddles.
However, notwithstanding the administration’s developmental works, senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Laxmi Kanta Chawla lambasted the civic authorities for striving to sanitise only the so-called posh areas. “Does Amritsar comprise only Court Road and Mall Road; why then MC only bothers to improve roads frequented by leaders and affluent people living in posh localities,” questioned Chawla.
She sought to know from the civic authorities whether backward localities such as Islamabad, Haripura, Dhapai Road, Ekta Nagar and others were a part of the city or not.
“There is talk of installing state-of-the-art lighting in the city. It will be better if the authorities concerned first prepare a strategy for lifting garbage from those areas which have not been cleaned for months. If Amritsar has truly been developed, then the PM should be taken for a visit to the areas which are still craving for potable water supply,” she said.
When contacted, municipal commissioner Pradeep Sabharwal said the authorities were mainly concerned with extending a warm welcome to the PM, which made them go overboard to ensure that the city was ready to receive him.
“The PM is such a high profile person that we wanted to do every possible thing to welcome him,” he said.
He, however, added that the other areas of the city would also be cleaned and required amenities be provided at the earliest.