Former Punjab chief minister and veteran Congress leader Capt Amarinder Singh on Saturday warned the Akali-BJP government against its proposal to disband the Patiala Development Authority (PDA). He said this was totally a discriminatory plan of the state government.
The members of the PDA Bachao Sangharsh Committee met Capt Amarinder here on Saturday and discussed with him the Punjab government's move to disband the PDA and merge it with Bathinda Development Authority and Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA), Mohali.
Amarinder said the PDA was constituted in 2002 with a view to ensure inclusive development of Patiala and its surrounding areas as a counter-magnet to NCR Delhi. "During the Congress regime, it performed very well and impressed by its performance, the subsequent Akali government constituted several more similar development authorities, including Ludhiana, Bathinda, Mohali, Jalandhar, etc," added the Congress leader.
"Unfortunately, the Akali-BJP government did not allow PDA to function and did not spend even a single penny out of the funds it generated. These funds were used as loan assistance to other authorities to fund their developmental works and the PDA was left high and dry and to bear the income tax liability of Rs 80 crore. Thus Patiala was totally deprived of any developmental initiative during the past eight years," lambasted Amarinder.
It has been reported in the media that PDA would be disbanded keeping view its "poor performance" and its areas would be merged with Bathinda Developmental Authority and GMADA. In the same report, it has been mentioned that other similar authorities, except GMADA, have also performed poorly, but are not being disbanded. The discriminatory axe of Akali-BJP government would soon fall on the PDA only.
Meanwhile, the PDA Bachao Committee has been agitating for the last two months. It has presented memoranda to all those who matter, including CM Parkash Singh Badal. However, there has been no response from the government.
Capt Amarinder Singh cautioned the government against its move and demanded that instead of disbanding the PDA against the wishes of the people, it should be strengthen and allow it to use its funds in Patiala planning and executing new schemes, failing which the issue may blow out of proportion and the state government would be responsible for its consequences.