Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who arrived in the city on Thursday morning to attend the funeral of his nephew Mandeep Singh Kohli, expressed displeasure over the poor condition of the city.
After attending the funeral, Singh visited the residence of Congress MLA from Amritsar (west) Raj Kumar Verka to condole the death of his relative.
Thereafter, he had a cup of tea at Congress MLA from Amritsar (central) OP Soni’s residence, where he interacted with a handful of people, including a few reporters, prior to his departure to New Delhi.
Singh seemed unhappy after seeing heaps of mud along the roadsides.
Notably the roads are being dug up for the Rs 100-crore Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) — a project of the SAD-BJP government that aims at providing dedicated corridors for local transport buses.
Manmohan did say much, but seemed unhappy when Soni told him about the difficulties being faced by the people of the city due to the BRTS project work.
“Amritsar should have been developed on a priority bases. It is one of the important cities of Punjab,” Manmohan said.
Amritsar (urban) district Congress committee (DCC) chief Jugal Kishore Sharma told the former PM that barring the elevated road project that was sanctioned during his (Manmohan) government, no other project had been completed till date.
The former Prime Minister, however, made no inquiries about the pending projects.
As a couple of businessmen were also present, the former PM inquired about the state of business and industry in Amritsar.
Punjab Beopar Mandal chief, Amritsar, Lal Jain, told Manmohan that business and industry in the city was in a bad state and in over the last 10-years a number of units had been shut down. Adding, a couple of other businessmen said the only way to improve the situation was to give Amritsar a special border area package on the lines of the one given to the industry in Himachal Pradesh.
Replying to businessmen, Manmihan said, “You know most of the development issues in Amritsar should be taken care by the state government. The Centre cannot do much in this. It is the duty of the state government to carry out development work here.”
Amritsar (rural) DCC chief Gurjit Singh Aujla and municipal corporation members Raj Kawal and Preet Pal Singh Lucky made a reference to the upcoming assembly polls in Punjab. But the former PM gave no response, apparently sending a message to a couple of other Congress leaders present that he was not here to