The Amritsar district administration is busying itself with development projects for the holy city’s uplift. The projects were started a long time ago, but the authorities skipped a flurry of deadlines. That seems to have changed recently after deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal reviewed the projects and asked the district administration to gear up. In an interview with HT’s Aseem Bassi, deputy commissioner Varun Roojam talks about what the government is trying to change in the city. Here are the excerpts:
HT: The bugle for the assembly elections has been blown. The government must also be working hard; what instructions have you received?
Roojam: Yesterday (Friday), deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal called a meeting and reviewed the status of the projects. Work is being done on major projects such as the BRTS, Food Street, Road to Golden Temple and War Memorial in Amritsar. Also, we will be spending `800 crore in the urban area through the municipal corporation while Rs 136 crore will be spent in the rural sector. We are committed to completing all the projects by September, as we have been asked to. Once the work is complete, things will change.
People are facing a lot of inconvenience because, for example, during construction of roads, alternative routes have not been marked.
Yes, I agree that people are facing problems and at places there is absence of service lanes. We are serious about the issue, and I feel that things have improved recently. But we will consistently work on this to ensure that people do not face any hassles.
An important city like Amritsar and even officers do not have a proper place to sit.
This is true that all the officers of the civil and the police administration are scattered due to lack of offices. I am keeping a close eye on construction of the district administrative complex. I have been told that it will be completed by December, but I have asked them to make it operational by September. I understand there are problems for people too as they can’t find officers under one roof, but we will soon be ready with the new complex.
The construction is creating hassles for pilgrims going to Golden Temple. Nothing is being done.
As the road beautification project is going on around the Golden Temple, people are facing issues. I will soon talk to the police commissioner to ensure that the area is decongested. Once the beautification project is complete, we will designate the area around the Golden Temple as a ‘no vehicle’ zone. Only pedestrians will be allowed beyond the Saragarhi Parking roundabout.
Thousands of tourists visit Amritsar everyday, but the city has nothing to offer in terms of facilities, particularly at the border.
We want tourists visiting the border area to get the best of facilities. A building of the tourism department is complete at the border. A parking lot is also being constructed there. Also, the tourism and cultural department will soon make the building operational and things will get better. Moreover, the expansion of the visitor’s gallery is on at full swing. When that is complete, it can accommodate around 10,000 people.