The Amritsar Improvement Trust (AIT) has been in the news for wrong reasons of late, such as the charges of diversion of funds meant for the development of Amritsar to other districts, failure to undertake development in colonies under its purview and delay in the installation of the CCTV cameras in the city. And then there was the issue of fund crunch the agency has been grappling with for some time.
Hindustan Times spoke to AIT 'AIT's financial health better than it was few months agoSandeep Rishi about the civic body's fiscal health, the measures being taken to retrieve the diverted funds and to develop the localities falling under its jurisdiction, besides installation of the CCTV cameras.
Q How is the present financial health of the Amritsar Improvement Trust?
The AIT's financial health is better than it used to be till a few months ago. We have funds to the tune of Rs. 70 crore in one account and FDRs worth Rs. 36 crore, besides a property base of Rs. 1500 crore, which we auction whenever funds are required.
Q The AIT faced charges of diversion of funds to other districts. Why were these funds diverted when the city itself was in dire need of these for various development projects?
Chairman: The funds were not 'diverted', rather these were loaned to other government agencies that needed them.
Q Were the diverted funds received back? What is being done to retrieve them?
We are in the process of retrieving the funds that were loaned to other government agencies and have managed to recover a few loans. The recoveries started within four months of loaning these amounts.
Q Ranjit Avenue, a posh locality overseen by the AIT, has become a garbage dumping ground besides facing a host of other problems. What is being done to develop this locality and keep it garbage free?
Garbage is being dumped by the residents in unmanned spaces, particularly in parts of the upcoming sports complex, as there is no security guard over there. We have initiated operations to get the area cleaned.
Q Why have the CCTV cameras not been installed so far considering the dire need for these in the event of increasing instances of crime in the city?
The project is being overseen by the home department of the Punjab government, which is responsible for installing these in Amritsar, Ludhiana and Mohali. The AIT just has to contribute Rs. 5 crore for this project. The first installment of the project amounting to Rs. 63 crore has already been forwarded to the government.