While the ruling SADBJP alliance is trying its best to hard sell the idea of development, the situation in Faridkot district seems to be totally different. The idea and the claim of development are not doing down well with most people.
The wheel of development is only pushed forward when the state is in the election mode but for the rest of the time it moves too slowly.
The district, with the population of 6.18 lakh has got Rs 227 crore for laying the new sewerage in Jaitu, Kotkapura and Faridkot towns after waiting the seven years of the SADBJP rule, besides a drinking water facility, new bus stand at Faridkot and a hospital building at Kotkapura on February 26 during the visit of deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal. The grant has come only when the Lok Sabha elections are around the corner.
The sewerage system in Kotkapura is very old and in some parts it is non-existent for decades. Faridkot town has no sewerage system at all in most parts.
The main chowk at Faridkot, which was decorated with fountains and inaugurated by local MP Parmjeet Kaur Gulshan in 2011, is in a shambles now. All money spent on its beautification has gone waste. Areas like Bazigar Basti, Sanjay Nagar and Jot Ram Colony in Faridkot are facing problems of lack of sewerage, drinking water besides bad roads.
“Little has been done in the name of development at Jaitu town that has a population of around 45,000. Most roads in the town and link roads to villages are in a bad condition. The sewerage system is decades-old with some parts having no sewerage at all. The posts of doctors in the community health centre at Jaitu are vacant most of the time,” claimed Shagan, a local.
“The much talked about idea of development has turned out to be a publicity stunt as only 10% people have benefited from it. The condition of most link roads is worst barring major stretches or those under the built, operate and transfer mode or Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana,” said Joginder Singh Brar, an advocate from Faridkot.
The idea of providing drinking water through RO system is not feasible in the long run while many existing water works have failed, Brar said, adding that the government should rather focus on improving existing water works facilities and promoting rainwater harvesting.
“Providing free power to agriculture sector is rather hitting the farm economy as well as ground water. Free power is provided for 6 hours and farmers have to buy expensive generators and spend money on fuel to irrigate fields. The farmers demand regular supply than free power,” Brar added.
Darshan Singh, Malwa- 2 in-charge of SC wing of the Congress, said, “The benefits of development have not reached the common man. The condition of the village roads, link roads and drains is very poor. The ponds are filled with stinking waste water from households. In our village, Dhilwan Kalan, there is only one RO system for nearly 5,000 people and many villagers have to fetch water from hand pump.”
The Kotkapura MC is facing shortage of funds. Empty oil drums have been placed to give the main chowk an appearance of a roundabout, while the local bus stand is in a dilapidated condition.
“There should be overall and continuous development, which has not been the case in the past seven years,” said Rajinder Singh, a Kotkapura resident.