The opposition Congress has alleged that with the Lok Sabha elections around the corner, the fund-starved Municipal Corporation Amritsar (MCA) has once again drawn up a list of projects just for extracting funds from the Centre under JNNURM (Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission) and to make the people believe that the SAD-BJP is keen to develop Amritsar.
"The SAD-BJP controlled MCA has all of a sudden woken up and drawn up a list of projects for which it will be seeking a sum of `1241 crore from the central government. It is yet another ploy to mislead the people and garner votes in the Lok Sabha polls", claimed Raj Kanwal Preet Singh Lucky, leader of the Congress in the 65-member MCA.
Addressing the media here on Wednesday, Lucky pointed out that the MCA should have taken full advantage of the holy city having been included under JNNURM, along with Ludhiana. However barring the elevated road project which was executed under JNNURM, the MCA has not executed a single project under this central scheme in the last six years, he added while pointing out that the MCA had also received funds for the City Bus Service under JNNURM, but the project is yet to see the light of the day.
"The reasons are quite obvious, the MCA had no money in its coffers to put up its matching grant in accordance with JNNURM rules. Now with the Lok Sabha elections approaching, the MCA again comes up with a list of projects for which funds will be sought under JNNURM", he said while wondering from where the matching grants for these projects will come.
Lucky pointed out that at the meeting of the MCA slated for Thursday, the MCA will be seeking the clearance of these projects from the house before forwarding these to the central government.
He made it clear that the Congress will question this approach of the MCA at the meeting, particularly as the state government had claimed last month that a file related to various developmental projects for the holy city had been sent to the central government for seeking funds under JNNURM.
"Why seek clearance from the MCA house, when the state government has already sent the related file to the central government. Mayor Bakshi Ram Arora should come out with the truth and should stop showing his helplessness, as has become his habit every now and then", stated Lucky.
Referring to some of the projects for which funds are being sought, Lucky said that a sum of `105 crore is being demanded from the central government for the much delayed solid waste management project. He wanted to know as to why such a demand was not made a couple of years ago, when the project was conceptualized.
"After getting `33 crore for the city bus service, the MCA is now seeking a sum of Rs. 491 crore for its latest project, the Rapid Transport System. It is strange that funds are being sought for a new public transport system, when the previous one is yet to become a reality", he added.
The Congress leader also lambasted local bodies minister and local MLA, Anil Joshi for failing to give priority to the holy city in terms of development. The minister should venture out into the streets of Amritsar and see for himself the piles of filth lying all around and the choked drains, he added.
"Either the minister is helpless in front of his coalition colleagues or he is not keen in ensuring that his own city remains clean and gives a presentable look to the thousands of tourists and devotees who come here each day", he added.