After Inderbir Singh Bolaria in Amritsar, Pargat Singh here becomes the second Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) legislator to go against his own government over proposed dumping of waste in his constituency.
Pargat opposes a solid-waste management project proposed at Jamsher village in his Jalandhar Cantonment seat. "I stand against my government for the interests of my constituents, who elected me as their representative after just 15 days of my campaigning in 2012," said the former Indian hockey captain. "If the government fails to change the project site, I'll fight for the welfare of my people," he added.
The MLA was addressing a meeting on Saturday at Jamsher during the visit of a committee from the legislative assembly to hear objections.
Referring to a minister who has not been listening to him, Pargat said this leader, perhaps, saw politics to be no place for a hockey player.
"But the minister should know that people who can defend their goal in hockey can tackle any opposition." Pargat was considered one of the world's best defenders in the game.
Pointing at the government officials sitting in the meeting, he asked them if they'd understand the people's worries only when they stood up against the government. The MLA accused Jalandhar Improvement Trust chairman Vinay Bublani of concealing facts in a report sent to government in 2009 when he was acting municipal commissioner of the city. "Bublani turned the city into hell during his term as municipal commissioner," he said.
The former Olympian didn't spare even chief engineer AS Dhaliwal, who was present in the meeting, and accused him as well of hiding facts from the government. "Since you belong to a farmer's family, I expect you to understand the plight of village people," Pargat told Daliwal. Charging municipal commissioner Gurpreet Singh Khaira with being on the same track as his predecessor, Bublani, he asked him to consider people's concern before sending a report to the Vidhan Sabha.
'Conditions at village already hell-like'
"The conditions at Jamsher and its neighbouring villages are already hell-like because of the foul smell from the Jamsher drain. The sewage-treatment plant at Pholriwal is polluting water in the area where 570 dairies are situated," said the Akali legislator. "You (the local MC officials), who sit in your air-conditioned chambers, and the babus in Chandigarh, who live in super-luxury homes, don't know the ground reality," he said, adding that in the public meeting before sanctioning the project in 2009, people had not been heard.
"I am not against the project, but it should be at some other site," said Pargat. Referring to former SAD legislator Jagbir Singh Brar (now district rural Congress president), who was present, the ex-Olympian said people should not elect leaders who cannot speak up for them in the assembly.