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HindustanTimes Fri,25 Apr 2014

Sidhu's absence casts shadow on Amritsar's development

Aseem Bassi, Hindustan Times  Amritsar, April 12, 2013
First Published: 22:02 IST(12/4/2013) | Last Updated: 22:06 IST(12/4/2013)

The prolonged absence of Amritsar MP Navjot Singh Sidhu from his constituency has upset both local BJP cadres and the plans to give a push to the projects he had brought to Amritsar.

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Sidhu, as posted by his MLA wife Dr Navjot Kaur Sidhu on Facebook, has "gone back to the profession where he is respected after being suffocated and sidelined by his party". She had also stressed that various projects brought by Sidhu were scuttled by the central and state governments.

The Amritsar MP had announced some projects for Amritsar with a bang, but most of them continue to be in disarray.

To begin with, a Rs. 5-crore Amritsar improvement trust project to install CCTV cameras in the city was announced amid much fanfare more than two years ago, but so far not even a single camera has been installed. Sidhu, along with deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal, had also announced a Rs. 17-crore multipurpose sports complex project in Ranjit Avenue, but this project is still on paper.

The work on the flyover on Kitchlew Chowk, to be built at a cost of Rs. 18 crore, is on at a snail's pace. The project has already missed its deadline.

Sidhu had also raised his voice for revival of flights from the Amritsar airport. He wrote several letters to the civil aviation ministry and held a series of meetings at the airport, but not much worked.

Despite the protests launched by him, the Centre did not concede to his demand for extension of the rail freight corridor to Amritsar.

The "Go Green Go Clean" clean project for the city, on which the MP spent more than Rs. 1 crore from his pocket, did kick off, but with the passage of time the initiative fizzled out due to lack of maintenance.

One major project for which Sidhu had lobbied hard was the solid waste management project for the city. It started off with collection of garbage from households but was later discontinued.

However, his efforts to press for the Amritsar-Chandigarh Duronto train, four-laning of the Amritsar-Jalandhar road and facelift of the airport passenger terminal did bear fruit. He even managed to get a Rs. 100-crore grant for the city from chief minister Parkash Singh Badal.

With the Sidhu-BJP deadlock yet to be resolved, political observers feel that his absence from the city will slow down the pace of development works, especially central projects with no one to take them up with the union government.

Amritsar Improvement Trust chairman Sandeep Rishi claimed that no project had got scuttled. "The CCTV project will be completed and the designs for the sports complex are almost ready. The designs got delayed as there was a proposal to add a cricket stadium. The Kitchlew Chowk flyover project has missed its deadline, but it will be completed by October," he said.

SIDHU'S REPORT CARD
Projects still hanging CCTV project
Multipurpose sports complex
Solid waste management project
Revival of flights from Amritsar airport
Extension of rail corridor

Ones that clicked
Got a grant of Rs. 100 crore for Amritsar city from the Punjab government
Played a crucial role in the facelift of the passenger terminal at the airport
Effectively raised in Parliament his demand for the four-laning of the Amritsar-Jalandhar road
Lobbied with the railway ministry for the Amritsar-Chandigarh Duronto train

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