The Amritsar municipal corporation's proposal to seek a loan of Rs 100 crore from local banks has not gone down well with opposition Congress councillors, who have charged the MC top brass with leading the civic body into the financial mess and not carrying out development in the holy city.
While the MC proposes to raise the loan issue in its House meeting on May 30, Congress councillors have opposed raising of the loan by mortgaging Guru Nanak Bhawan. They have also urged chief minister Parkash Singh Badal to ensure the MC abstains from mortgaging public property and also earmark funds for the development of Amritsar.
The councillors argued that instead of trying to raise Rs 100 crore as bank loan, the MC authorities should concentrate on the ongoing and pending projects, some of which were started way back in 2007.
One of the major projects pertains to Japan International Cooperation Agency-sponsored sewerage project worth Rs 370 crore. Started in 2007, only 15% of the project has been completed so far, they claimed.
According to Rajkanwal Preet Pal Singh Lucky, leader of the Opposition in the MC, the process to return the JICA loan raised following an agreement with the Japan government would begin in 2017. "Come 2017 and the MC would be returning an amount of Rs 14 crore per annum for 30 years," he said.
He blamed the "laxity" of the MC and Punjab water supply and sewerage board, which is overseeing the project, for the delay in the completion of the project. Lucky demanded that mayor Bakshi Ram Arora should clarify how he proposed to raise funds for repaying the principal amount as also the interest.
When contacted, Arora claimed that the work on sewerage project was progressing at a fast pace. He added that the MC was working on a plan to repay the bank loan it planned to raise. "Our priority is development in the city and the proposed loan is meant for that," he said. He urged the Congress councillors to abstain from making allegations and work for the development of the city.