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HindustanTimes Fri,29 Aug 2014

Sukhbir's dream faces uphill task

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Amritsar, October 14, 2012
First Published: 20:28 IST(14/10/2012) | Last Updated: 20:32 IST(14/10/2012)

Even though Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal has announced a Rs. 2,951-crore plan to give Amritsar a facelift, a closer look at the holy city reveals that it will require tremendous effort.

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For starters, basic amenities here are in a mess. While tourism is one of the most important revenue generating sources for this city, the significant number of pending projects and civic problems such as waterlogging has sullied its image.

Traffic congestion continues to get worse and getting stuck in jams is a routine occurrence. Poor sanitation is another eyesore.

The elevated road project is yet to be completed as a couple of its proposed ramps are still being constructed. The widening of Bhandari Bridge is yet to take off even as it continues to be a traffic bottleneck.

The city bus service is yet to become a reality. After about three trial runs, there is no sign of these buses on the roads.

Amid this, the state government, which wants to push the London-like pod project, is facing stiff opposition from residents demanding change in its route. 

The surveillance project of installing CCTV cameras at 55 locations in the city is gathering dust after its announcement by the improvement trust more than a year ago.

Gobindgarh Fort and Ram Bagh restoration are progressing at a snail's pace.

The municipal corporation's slogan of making the city clean and green has also fallen flat as garbage heaps are common throughout the city. Even in the civic body's own green belts lacks maintenance.

The improvement trust had announced construction of flyovers at Kitchlew Chowk and Sant Singh Sukha Singh Chowk, but work is progressing only on the former. According to the trust, the Archaeological Survey of India is opposed to the construction of the flyover at Sant Singh Sukha Singh Chowk as it is near Ram Bagh.

The list seems endless: open drains along the bypass, a choked sewerage system, garbage collection in a mess, encroachments, lack of parking spaces, congestion around Harmandar Sahib, slow pace of work on plaza opposite it and solid waste management project stalled.

For nearby Tarn Taran district, there is little in the name of facilities. It lacks basic amenities and even buildings to house government offices.

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