Local Congress leader and former district Youth Congress president Dinesh Bassi on Friday accused Amritsar municipal corporation mayor Bakshi Ram Arora of "corruption" and "inefficiency" and demanded he quit the post.
Talking to media persons here, Bassi asked the mayor to tell who ordered restart of construction work on a mall coming up near the Novelty Chowk. He pointed out that all work on this mall was halted six-seven years back after a vigilance inquiry was ordered following reports that the builders had encroached on a public road.
"Now, all of a sudden, construction activity has once again started at this mall, which happens to be in the ward represented by the mayor. There are reports that money exchanged hands for restarting the construction work," claimed Bassi while showing photographs of the construction activity.
The Congress leader pointed that he was not the only one making these allegations. In a recent meeting of councillors, those belonging to the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) had accused certain MC officials of taking huge bribes and referred to the mayor as a "puppet in the hands of MC officials", he claimed.
Bassi alleged that diesel was illegally sold from the MC filling station by officials daily. In this context, he showed bills of diesel filled in ditch-digging machine, which had not been in operation since the last four days.
According to Bassi, the MC had only collected a few lakh of rupees as change land use charges from a hotel in the Hall Bazaar area when it ought to be around Rs 2 crore. This concession smacked of an "underhand deal" between the MC and the hotel owners, he alleged.
The Congress leader claimed that the Mayor had no check on his officials. He also accused Arora of ignoring four wards from which Congress councillors were elected.
Bassi said that during the nine months of Arora's reign the civic conditions in the city had deteriorated. It was rather unfortunate that a city visited each day by around a lakh tourists lacks even the basic infrastructure and the conditions around the Golden Temple were appalling, he added.